It is funny how memories can be jolted in your mind, with no apparent for-thought or idea of what is coming next.  As I gazed at such beautiful stately deciduous trees such as elm, maples, oak, & other indigenous trees of NJ, I had previously rode in a car.  I never noticed such beauty.  But now my transport is an ambulance bringing me home from renal dialysis, as it had for almost two months. Now looking up into the sky, I saw various patterns of different leaves, as the sun & the movement of the ambulance, much in need of better shock absorbers, tossed me back & forth.  Oh, such loveliness!  I am alive!  Now, I am so appreciative & thankful for small things, not that I didn’t before dialysis, but with a deeper spiritual thankfulness.   God has been good to me. 

As I entered the dialysis unit, for the first time. I was aware of how pristine & sterile was the environment.  The antiseptic odor reached my nostrils.  Around the massive room were lounge chairs or hospital beds, all lined up around the perimeter of the building.  In each chair, an occupant receiving dialysis, with tubes coming in or out of fistula or permacath.  Two machine were between each receiver.  One was the dializer cleaning the blood.  The other kept track of vitals, input & output of minerals, medication, as needed.  The one tube was used for the arterial (pulling blood out to dialysis machine & the other was called a venus, which pulled the cleansed blood back into the body.  My blood was “sticky” , as it clotted outside the body. More Heparin had to be added to my blood to keep it flowing well. 

My Permacath was inserted surgically under the shoulder muscle. It had 2 ports for pulling blood in & out.  I could not shower until it was removed.  I would have to do a sponge bath.  Washing hair was a challenge, as I couldn’t get the Permacath wet.  So as suggested I covered with a plastic wrap or Saran Wrap & taped it all around.  I used packing tape, as that was all I had on hand. It worked & with much relief, I had a clean head.

My fistula was a few weeks later, inserted surgically in my upper arm, as I had a good blood flow there.  It needed time to ripen or appear bulging from arm.  A rubber kidney was given to me to squeeze daily, to help the process along.  A rubber ball as well, could be used!  It helped the fistula to develop. 

As my Permacath clogged early, I was switched to a 15 or 16 gauge needle to be inserted as the arterial vein of arm.  The first time, I used a numbing spray, but later did not, as some technicians were an ace in the art of cannulation of needle.  I would feel hardly anything or just a prick. 

I can’t say that my three days a week, for four hours a day, are the highlights of my life.  But it is my LIFE or the alternative- DEATH. That was & still is the hardest thing for me to adjust to even now.  I am a free spirit & hate time restrictions, but I will adjust, as there is no alternative for me.  I think of myself & others like me, as the LIVING DEAD!  So many unknowns for us, but all life contain the same. Those of us in DIALYSIS have chosen LIFE!  That is why I am sharing my renal friendly recipes with everyone.  If we choose LIFE, we need to eat as if we really mean it!  There is no turning back only looking to a pleasureable future!  We need to as we often say in weight loss programs ” to keep the grass green” !  Never forget the past emotional & physical problems before dialysis.  We all have our own personal memories of sleeping a life away, among other things!  This will help to keep us on track in our Race for Life!