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  • Starting dialysis this week.

    I went to my nephrologist today and was told I need to start dialysis. GFR 9, creatinine 5.59. A few uremic symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, extreme exhaustion. I'm having a Permacath placed on Wednesday and will start dialysis that night. The catheter will hopefully only be temporary as I'm being evaluated for transplant. My brother has already finished his testing and is going to donate but I have a few more test they still need to complete.I'm very nervous about clots/infection in the catheter and it doesn't look very nice either, having a large catheter in your neck. I'm still young at 35, and have a wedding where I'm a bridesmaid in a week and a half. Any suggestions on how to hide it and on preventing infection? I know that I should be grateful for the dialysis that will help keep me healthy and not worry about a petty thing such as looks but I just don't want all the questions that a visible catheter will cause.

  • #2
    Georgette I am sorry you have to go through this but at least you have this life saving measure available. Maybe you could wear a pretty scarf around it your cath at the wedding. You should ask you doctor or nurse if you should cover it though. Maybe you should ask the bride of the wedding if she would want you to bow out of the wedding to keep you healthy and so people won't be focusing on you. (Not my idea just a thought) Other than a wedding if people are asking questions about the cath it would be a good teaching moment for people on what kidney disease is. I hope everything goes well.

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    • #3
      My best to you. I am young as well, at 43, and my kidney failure struck like lightning. The Permacath can be very intimidating and it took me several weeks to emotionally adjust to having a device sticking out of my chest. I did get used to it, and the nursing staff was very assiduous in cleaning it every treatment. Not being able to shower easily is difficult, but I promise you - when you finally get it removed, in my case because I had a fistula created - that first shower will feel like heaven.

      I also found that family, friends and strangers were incredibly understanding and supportive while I had the device implanted. People will surprise you, once you get over the initial shock. It's a process that, so far for me, never ends, but I know you can do it. Hang in there.

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      • #4
        Those chest caths are a bother! I knew my kidneys were failing, so I had a graft placed almost a year before I began dialysis. Unfortunately, I've had problems with the graft and, later, my fistula, so I've had five different chest caths placed. (Remember, this is in ten years of dialysis!) I cheated with the "no showering" rule by placing a large plastic bandage (I can't remember the name, but it's available at Walgreen's) over the cath and taking a really quick shower every other day. Our shower has a hand-held shower head, so I was able to keep the cath dry. People do get used to seeing it, and I would use any questions to teach people about ESRD and my own condition, PKD. I think a scarf would cover it nicely for pictures and the ceremony, then take it off and let it breathe!
        I don't want to be discouraging, but anything having to do with transplants takes time and patience. Even if you have a living donor--just be prepared to be very patient. Good luck and God Bless!

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        • #5
          Hello in my prayers how are you doing? I am 35 years young too and been on dialysis 35 years. It can be hard to explain and embarrassing to have people see it very hard to hide it

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          • #6
            My prayers & thoughts are with you as well Georgette. All the suggestions are good ones. I pray all works out for you and everyone. I avoided having to get a chest cath, but had surgery last week for a PD cath & fistula (for a back-up), but my failure was more gradual. My 1st full week of PD dialysis begins Sept 14; after the catheter heals more. I pray all works out with your brother being able to donate. Blessings to all.

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            • #7
              I empathize with your situation and please continue to take care of yourself. I am a healthcare professional that has worked in dialysis for nearly six years. While I'm sure you will hear about all of this once you start dialysis, I want to give you some advice about being a dialysis patient. On your first day (if you haven't started already) of dialysis, you will want to bring a blanket and pillow for comfort. The dialysis chairs aren't the most comfortable things in this world, you likely will feel cold if you suffer from anemia, and 4-5 hours is a long time. Also, no matter what other patients or staff say, do NOT shower if you have a catheter (CVC). Regardless of whether you cover it up in the shower or not, moisture can build up under the coverage. The tip of that catheter is placed at the wall of your heart, and if you catch an infection at your CVC site, your heart acts as a hub and will deliver that infection to your arteries which will then deliver the infection to all your veins, eventually spreading the infection throughout your entire body. You will also want a Fistula, or 2nd choice Graft, placed as soon as possible so that you can have the CVC removed (high risk of infection). You will want to ensure your protein levels (albumin) is 4.0 or more. <--- Albumin levels are the MOST important lab value, it is considered the predictor of your overall health status. EAT PROTEIN My best advice is to learn as much as possible about dialysis so that you can help continue to sustain and improve your health. Watch the staff and call them out if you feel they are putting your at risk for cross contamination. This is your life, it's only their job and some staff can get lazy and take shortcuts. Be patient with your treatment start/end times, there are other patients in the room that need care too. Treat your staff well but keep them on using 'best practices'. Staff can be great resources of information and great to converse with personally, it'll help kill time. Best of luck and again, take care of yourself! Oh, as for covering up the CVC... scarf If you're the bridesmaid, likely you're close with the bride. I would discuss your concern with the bride, she might even find a pretty scarf that all the bridesmaids can wear so that you don't 'stand out' or feel uncomfortable. It's worth talking to her about. Have fun and continue to do things that you enjoy, dialysis is demanding but it doesn't have to be your whole life. Feel free to get a hold of me on here if you have any other questions. I'm not a DaVita staff member... actually a Fresenius staff member, but happy to help.

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