May 16, 2019

I’m at the Wisconsin Dialysis center now, hooked up to this life-giving machine, a neighbor 6 feet to my right and one on the left, in a big open room. There are probably 40 chairs in here, but not all are full. Nurses and techs mill about with rolling computer stations attending to the beeping of the machines. Dialysis machines are loud, and alarms sound frequently. Mine used to alarm all the time and the tech would come over, mess with my machine, adjust the blood lines, pump saline through them, switch them around… it was stressful. The problem was the arterial pressure kept jumping around, which meant the tip of the catheter inside my artery wasn’t able to draw in the blood at a consistent rate. Maybe the line was kinked. Maybe, like a tiny vacuum, the nozzle was getting stuck to the side of the artery. All I know is that once I started taking blood thinners for the blood clot in my leg, my dialysis machine doesn’t alarm any more. For that I’m very thankful. It makes sense… water up a straw versus milkshake up a straw… much easier.

It takes a considered effort to not let the mood of the place get you down. Many of the people here are on their last leg. A few have no legs at all. Diaper changes happen regularly and the effectiveness of Lysol spray is put to the test. Drama between the staff is on full display with the open concept room. No matter how many times I tell the techs that my white blood cells are low and to please be extra careful with keeping things sanitary, they can be quite careless- opening the catheter lines and brushing the openings with something, not covering their nose with the face masks, opening saline flushes and setting them down to go get something else…

I can’t wait to get OFF dialysis!!! I know the day is coming when I will. One day I’ll be able to get this femoral line removed and be able to take a shower again and not have to sponge-bathe. One day I’ll take a bath again. But now I have to wait and persevere. It’s time to ask God to heal my kidneys. I do feel privileged to know I have the hope of getting better- unlike many of my fellow kidney-failure comrades. The one who sits to my right, an elderly man in plaid shirt and jeans had an unfortunate issue with his dialysis access line… blood spewing out onto the floor. They quickly drew the curtain between us and got him cleaned up, but I find myself wishing the curtains were sound proof. Apparently one of the machine’s clamps rattled and closed, changed the pressure in the line, and made his access spring a leak. I sure hope that doesn’t happen to me. Now I know why the chairs are 6 feet apart.

My dialysis machine

I’ve also learned that dialysis and depression usually go hand in hand. Not sure what the link between the two is exactly, but I’m feeling it. It’s been hard to care about stuff. Thankfully I’ve got a lot of resources to pull from, and I’m going for an appointment with the cancer center’s psychologist next week. Hopefully it helps.

Going for a walk

18 thoughts

  1. Oh Heidi,
    I wish I could be there to give you a hug. I pray for you every time I think of you. You’re an excellent writer.
    Praying Col 1:11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy….” Praying for supernatural strength as you endure.
    Bob Reehm


  2. Heidi, thank you for taking time to write. Your honesty helps us pray. Praise God who sent His Son to dwell with us in this broken world–and to redeem it. Psalm 30… May God give you a glimpse of the joy that comes in the morning in the middle of the night of weeping so that your face may shine radiantly with the knowledge of His steadfast love for you in a way that will make the world wonder and bring great glory to His name and comfort to your heart.


  3. I hope you are done with dialysis really soon. After Tulsa, when I moved to Arizona, I volunteered for a while at the children’s hospital to help me decide if I wanted to pursue a job in nursing. I ended up doing about half of my volunteer shifts in the dialysis center, playing games with little kids while they sat and waited for the machines to do their blood magic. I wish I could volunteer to play games with you while you do your dialysis now. I hope you find the psychologist to be helpful. You are so strong, and you are dealing with some really shitty stuff. You have touched so many people in your life and you are important to so many. We are all cheering and praying for you.


  4. I have been checking your blog and was worried that there is no update. I am praying for you everyday. I hope god will hear me. You are so strong Heidi. I am hoping and praying you will get over this soon. Love from Amara and I.


  5. Praying for you girl! Thank you for sharing this with us! Praying for perserverence and strength and clarity of mind and emotions as well. Love you so much!


  6. What an accurate and descriptive narration of dialysis . It is needed but monotonous . Mom slept through her dialysis & my brother definitely noticed the clients with missing limbs when he went to dialysis.
    Depression is very common with dialysis. So encouraged you are seeing someone about how you are feeling.
    Psalm 62:8- ‘Pour out your heart before Him… one of my favorite verses.
    Love and prayers ,


  7. Hooray, hooray that you are going to be able to talk with the psychologist – sometimes a “specialist” is just what a body needs! The circumstances have become so complex, this has taken so long, the toll on your physical health cannot but affect the emotional, too. May God so weave this all together as to produce the most amazing tapestry of His handiwork in you and through you that all will stand amazed 🤗.

    Thanks also for posting as so many who are praying and love you have been concerned at not receiving any updates or news. Even “sad” or “mad” or “bad” news is AOK…. and of course we also love the “glad” news, too. It doesn’t matter how you express yourself, for you are deeply loved no matter what! ❤️❤️❤️


  8. Oh sweet Heidi, we will continue to pray for you. Depression is a real thing and with all you’ve been through it makes sense. Thank you for being transparent. We will specifically pray your kidneys heal, your depression lifts and God revives your soul!
    I recently found a new Christian comedian, John Crist. He is quite hilarious. I’ve spent too much time watching his YouTube channel. You should check him out 😊


  9. I like that you taking effort to understand all the procedures happening on you. You are a true example that is reflected in Corinthians …when I am weak I am strong. I see God’s perfect power in your weakness. I am truly praying for your healing.


  10. Hermana del alma: cierro mis ojos y te veo llena de salud, veo tus células regenerándose, siento tu corazón que palpita al mismo tiempo que el corazón de tus hijos, te veo disfrutando del agua, del sol, de la nieve… Si pudiera estar en tu lugar en vez de ti, ángel, dulce ser humano. Todos los días te pienso… cierro mis ojos y te veo llena de salud, radiante, con tu alegría, con todo lo que eres y que Dios lo hizo con profundo amor. Todo tú eres amor. Te quiero, te quiero mucho.


  11. Dear Heidi, I so wish there was something I could do beside cry and pray. But I keep reminding myself that prayers are the most powerful tool in our arsenal and that God is holding you closely. Know that you are loved by Him and by us.


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