Surviving HD Clinic
It’s not secret that I hate going to dialysis clinic three times a week for four hours at a time. However I do have a few tips for surviving it.
Firstly, try and get the times & days you won’t – it gives the allusion that your actually in control (spoiler alert: you’re not!) When I first started HD I was on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 7am and midday. As I worked, this meant that I really only got Sundays off. I’m also not (and never will be), a morning person. So getting up at 6am to go dialysis was hell! Changing the days meant that I got my weekends back (which was really important to me mentally and physically) and changing the times meant a lay in – happy dan(ish)!
Second, like any survival plan – it’s all about the supplies:-
As you can see I take A LOT with it. I might not use it all but for me it’s about choice – you can bet your life that if I don’t bring something I really really want it!
- The first thing in my arsenal is my triangle pillow – I use this every time. At my dialysis clinic we sit in what can only be described as “dentists chairs” so the pillow helps to keep me comfy.
- The next item is my Totes Toasties – I’m sure this is a universal problem in dialysis clinic across the world but at some point it gets freezing. The soaks help to keep me warm. Don’t use them that often but I’m always glam I take them when it gets cold.
- Then there is my headphones – an absolute must! We have individual TVs so they are needed to listen to them, or if I want to listen to my Spotify or if I just want to watch Netflix etc on my tablet. They also double up as ear plugs to block out all the sounds the the machines and other patients.
- That smoothly takes us onto the tablet. I use this to; surf the net, play games, do some work, watch Netflix or something I’ve downloads, etc. I have a wireless keyboard and mouse attached to mine for ease of use.
- Having now dialysed in two different clinics – I now know that the food/drink situation can be massively different. At our clinic (in total) you get two cups of tea, two packs of biscuits and a sandwich. This ain’t enough for me so I take some (what I like to call) “finger food” – something dry that I can use my fingers to eat with. I does change depending on how I feel that night before but current I’m on CoCo Pops (which I know you can’t actually eat with your fingers).
- I also have my battery pack as the battery on the iPhone is crap and it would next last 4 hours.
- As I said earlier, all the chairs in our dialysis clinic have their own TVs. 99% of them are Samsung TVs but the Clinic only has one remote for about 32 TVs – so I invested in my own Samsung remote (thanks eBay)! I love it, I can change to channel etc, at will without having to try and get the nurses attention and waiting for them to find the remote.
- Mobile phone is an obvious one.
- The kindle also has to come with me. In case I don’t want to watch or listen too anything at all – I can just read my book. While I don’t always want to read it, if I have a good book I’ve known the 4 hours to absolutely whizz by!
- Again, it’s an obvious one – I take a blanket for the cold times. However it also doubles up as a bit of a foot rest for me. As I’ve short (5f5in), I can’t reach the foot rest and tend to slip down the chair which can put pressure on my back. But the blanket rolled up gives me a good foot rest so I don’t slide down!
- You can barely see it but the thing on top of the blanket is my mobile phone lead to change it.
- I take a bottle of water, not only does it help if I’m thrusted and I’ve drink my tea but it’s also useful for taking any tablets I need to while I’m at Clinic (like my phosphate binders at lunchtime).
- And last but by no means least – I take some sweets. A sugary treat makes the hours just fly by.
Thirdly on the road to surviving clinic is Time! Remember when your nan used to tell you that “a watch pot never boils” – never is this truer by on dialysis. Most of the dialysis machines I have seen will give you a count down in hours and mins. Try not to look at that – turn the screen away from you if you can. This makes the time go much quicker.
I always treat dialysis like getting on a plane. Your stuck there, there’s nothing you can do about it so you might as well fill your time and not clock watch!