Self-Control and Self-Consciousness
If you've been on dialysis for as long as I have, pretty soon, you'll start to get sick of the routine and start to get some sort of a death wish.
I'm not saying all dialysis patients have a death wish but I certainly did. I started drinking water, tea, coffee, juice, soups whenever I wanted too, without care of how much fluid I was ingesting.
After years of tight fluid control, suddenly, I began thinking in a "Damned if I do and damned if I don't" kind of way. In other words, I started getting sick of watching normal people chug down ice-cold drinks and the like and started feeling this way : "Why can't I do it too?!".
Of course, as a dialysis patient, the cardinal rule is : watch your fluid intake, keep it down to less than 500ml if you can! But after doing this for so long, I guess I began to rebel. I started thinking : "Must I go through life thirsty and longing to drink more?".
Bad idea! Pretty soon, my pulse started racing and my blood pressure started dropping towards the 3rd hour of dialysis every time. And I mean every time! It got so bad that my blood pressure would even drop to 60/20ish! Now, that's bad! I mean,
I was literally courting death. I felt bad too, when this happened. At these times, I was extracting 3 to 4kgs per treatment. Sometimes, I didn't even manage to extract all that I should because I felt so unwell.
My friends, the nurses, were justifiably worried about me. They warned me that if I continued this way, my fistula (the part of my arm that enables dialysis) could stop working altogether or my heart could eventually fail. I could even die but what happens if I don't die but keep dying. I would suffer an agonizingly slow death.
If my fistula failed, I might have to go on to CAPD and that's really bad news. I've heard that patients on CAPD can never shower again but have to clean themselves with a damp cloth to avoid getting the stomach area wet (to avoid serious infections) and I can't even stomach that (pun intended).
CAPD means having a surgical insert in your stomach lining. You then have to do some kind of fluid exchange for around 30 minutes, 4 times a day everyday! To me, this is worse than being on hemodialysis (what I'm currently on, which means : you drop into a dialysis center 3 times week for a 4 hour treatment through the fistula in your arm).
Obviously, I was in a very bad and risky place! I realized that I have to go back to being disciplined with the way I was ingesting fluid aka. drinking. I have a digital weighing scale at home that I constantly use to check on my current weight.
In this way, I keep an eye on my weight so I don't go beyond 3kgs. If I was really thirsty but was approaching the danger zone, I would just suck on an ice cube, but I can't do this too often either because each ice cube was 30mls of water, so I only do this if I'm really thirsty.
So far so good. I've been weighing in at less than 3kgs for around 2 weeks now. I've resolved to be disciplined and vigilant about my fluid intake for the rest of my life. I have no choice as I'd rather die than go on CAPD. Hemodialysis is way better. At least I still have some measure of freedom with it!
So, this is my 'new' resolve! I did have some iced-tea earlier today but I immediately weighed myself and I'm approaching the 2kg mark, so I'll have to watch it more carefully today. Don't want to go beyond 3kgs. So, I'll keep weighing myself and trying, keep trying to keep my weight gain to below 3kgs......