So on Thursday, November 9, 2006 I went back to work after three days of hospital supervised dialysis. I felt great, energy was good and the dark clouds of fear surrounding the great unknown had been dispersed. My left arm around the fistula was a mess, though. It was swollen, purple and had over 20 holes where the nurses had been unable to hit the mainline.
Friday was the day of my first appointment at the dialysis center. I expected to go in, dialyze for a few hours and then head in to work. As ususual, my expectations were ill informed and a little naive! A long meeting with the Director accompanied by reams of forms and releases was followed by a long exam by the center's nephrologist and then more meetings with the dietician and social worker.
Finally in the early afternoon I was shown into the lab. The patient technician's and shift nurses were super friendly and supportive and would become good friends over the next two years. The nephrologist had shown concern over my fistula and Fe, the queen of the needles was brought over to place the needles and, working slowly and carefully, she slipped them right in on the first try. My chair was next to a window and I basked in the warm late afternoon sun. I did have some cramping toward the end of the treatment, but got in the full four hours.
By the end of the treatment, I had been at the center 6 hours, had not had lunch and I was exhausted. I called the store and said, "See ya' tomorrow" and headed home.