Friday, January 18, 2013

October 26, 2012 - "I have a bit of an emergency."

This post will cover the week of October 22, 2012, which was Mom's second week of dialysis.

October 22, 2012 (Monday): Dialysis did not go well today. The first half was ok, but later in the session Mom got cold again. Since she’s using the permacath in her chest, the dialysis machine turns off whenever she coughs or moves her shoulder a certain way. Then she has to wait for a technician to turn the machine back on. It seemed like they were short handed today so she spent a lot of time waiting for the machine to be turned back on. Her blood pressure was very low when she initially stood up after dialysis.

October 23: All of the supplies for peritoneal dialysis were picked up from Mom’s house today. (These supplies were delivered October 3, but never used.) The only thing they did not take back was the IV pole. [Insert your own joke here.]

October 24: Mom drove herself to and from dialysis today. She said it went very well. The following day (Thursday, October 25) she was feeling pretty good and drove around running some errands. So finally she has a good day at dialysis. Let's see how long that streak lasts . . .

October 26: Mom called me from the dialysis clinic at 11:28 AM saying she had a bit of an emergency. Her catheter was bleeding and she needed a ride to a clinic in Plano to have it taken care of. My sister Amy was at a job and my wife Cathy was out running errands. I called Cathy and she said she could go pick up Mom. After I sent a text message to my sister Laura to let her know what was going on, she called me back and said she could take Mom. I couldn’t get Cathy turned around soon enough, so Cathy arrived at the dialysis clinic only minutes before Laura did.

They decided Laura would take Mom to the clinic in Plano, and Cathy would get Mom a clean shirt from her house. Cathy said Mom apparently bled a lot and seemed a little disoriented. So what the heck happened?

Mom said she noticed a little bit of blood on or around the dressing of the permacath this morning before dialysis, and she told the technician about it. The technician got her hooked up to the machine and then went around to turn it on. Then she came back and looked at Mom, declared “Oh my God,” and yelled for help as she turned off the machine. Apparently Mom was bleeding profusely at the point where the permacath enters her chest. Mom said she ended up with five people around her trying to get the bleeding to stop and it took quite awhile as they would take turns applying heavy pressure to her chest.  She said she expected to start passing out due to the blood loss, but she didn't.

So now Laura is at the clinic with Mom, and Cathy is stopping by Mom's house to get some non-bloody clothes for her to wear when she leaves the clinic. Laura said that according to the physician's assistant (PA), the x-ray showed the catheter was too short, and that could explain some of the difficulty she has been having with dialysis. (According to Laura and Cathy, the PA was hilarious throughout the whole visit.) The PA also said they use a different type of catheter at that clinic (two prongs vs. one, I think). They decided to replace the catheter, which is a 20-minute procedure done with local anesthetic.

After the catheter was replaced, Laura took Mom back to the dialysis center and stayed about 30 minutes. Cathy took me there with Mom’s car key around 7 pm, and then Cathy and Cliff went on to Mom’s house to wait for me and Mom. After dialysis Mom had no trouble walking out to her car, and I took her home. She seemed just a little tired from the day’s drama, understandably so. She seemed fine when we left her house a little after 8 PM and said she would probably just go on to bed soon.

What a day. It's a little scary to imagine how this easily could have been a lot worse. Thank goodness the tech saw the bleeding as soon as it started. If Mom had already been covered up by a blanket the first sign of trouble might have been blood dripping on the floor. Incidentally, as of this writing, three months after the incident, Mom says she has not seen that same tech back in the clinic.

On a positive note, we were able to clean Mom's bloody shirt (one of her favorites) and brand new bra. The people at the dialysis clinic told Laura and Cathy that they soak bloody clothes in hydrogen peroxide to get the blood out, so Cathy bought several bottle of that while she was out. We went out to the garage and set up shop in the back of my pickup truck. I naturally had to take pictures of the whole process. The hydrogen peroxide bubbled like crazy when we poured it into the plastic tub with the clothes, and I could even feel a little warmth coming off the bubbles if I held my hand right over the top. (Hooray for exothermic reactions!) We gave them two soakings in the hydrogen peroxide, then Cathy washed them in the laundry. Here are before and after pictures of her shirt:

Bloody shirt before
Bloody Shirt
Hydrogen peroxide bubbles
+ Hydrogen Peroxide

Bloody shirt after
= Clean Shirt

October 27 (Saturday): In kidney transplant news, The Unknown Donor (TUD) has submitted the application to the pre-transplant group but has not heard back from them yet. TUD plans on following up next week. At this point Mom still does not know there is a potential donor.

Maybe we can get through the next week without this kind of drama . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment