Still trouble with fistula

Now the hospital had stitched up the fistula and had dialysis treatment I thought it was safe to go back to the dialysis center. On my next treatment I went and had the dialysis done. The only problem that happened was that a golf ball sized lump that appeared. There was also a little blood on the outside of the lump. Dialysis told me not to worry that it would go done in a day.  We let it go for about a day but my arm kept getting tighter. My wife was nervous about my arm and sent me to see my primary physician.  We were given antibiotic just to make sure it did not become infected.  So finally we went to the hospital again to have the doctor look at it. We were sent to the ER room.  She looked at how tight the skin was and before she could look away it started to bleed. She quickly tried to put some gauze on top of it to contain the blood. Once she touched it the stitches gave way and there was blood everywhere. This time it opened up even bigger than the time before. So once again they held above and below and stitched it up. The doctor said enough is enough. Tomorrow we will take you into the operating room and fix it right.  They ended up giving me a hybrid fistula.  This either means I have a fistula with a graft sewn in the middle or I get 50 miles to a gallon.

So once again I stayed in the hospital.(The fourth admit for this glitch in dialysis).  For those of you who have a fistula you know they can’t run an IV in that arm. I’ve also had a lot of other treatments in my right arm. After all these days in the hospital and all the IVs and blood draws they’ve already run my right arm they were running out of space. They put a port in my chest so they could do dialysis treatment there. They were also able to take some blood tests through the port. This was an operation so they had to have an IV so for the third time in two weeks I had to have an IV in my wrist. My right arm was decorated up and down and on both sides with black and blues.

After they did the operation and I was home for a couple of days I tried to go bowling. Right-handed bowler with my fistula in my left arm so I thought I would be okay. During the second game my left arm started to bleed so I grabbed it to put pressure on where it was raining blood and called 911. Once again they took me to the hospital. When the doctor looked at it this time he said it was old blood. I’m not sure with old blood means but it did mean that the stitches didn’t give up or break.

There are a couple of lessons I and my wife learned from this roller coaster ride.  Pay attention if your arm starts to feel or look different.  If you are concerned, have a professional look at it. It could be an abscess or it could be a pseudo aneurysm.   Bleeding from the fistula area is not to be played with.  Call 911 and put pressure on it.  Do not panic.

Trouble with Fistula

After one of my dialysis treatments a bubble formed at the bottom of the fistula. (It was swollen, sore and a little red).  My wife was worried it had gotten infected.  This looked very unusual to us so we went to the emergency clinic to have it checked out. They thought it was an abscess, but were unwilling to open it up because it was right on top of the fistula.  They sent us to our local free standing emergency room.  We would later be very happy that they had made this decision.

At the emergency room they did a sonogram of it to make sure the fistula had not clotted.  While they were scanning it, the pressure caused it to open up a small hole.  My wife mentioned the small drip coming from the site and we were told to just watch it while they waited for lab results.  Luckily my wife noticed that the drip had made a large spot on the hospital gown.  This got me a trip to the hospital. That’s where the vascular surgeon stitched it up. Since this is like an artery rupture there was no time to anesthetize the area. So they just grabbed above the rip and below the rip; applied pressure and stitched it up. This took about 3 stitches.  The surgeon didn’t feel there was much to worry about and there really wasn’t that much blood loss so no transfusion was needed. They kept me in the hospital for three days. During this time they did dialysis and made sure the stitches were in good shape. (First admit to hospital for this glitch in dialysis).

I went back to the dialysis center to have them do it the next time it was due but they weren’t sure whether they could do it or not.  I had to go back to the hospital; be admitted for one day and had my dialysis done by the hospital. (Second admit to the hospital for this glitch in dialysis).

Going back to the dialysis center to try again and they had a problem finding a location to stick the needles. After they infiltrated the top needle they asked me to come back the next day. Then they took out the bottom needle and  it started to bleed so they applied more pressure. They applied so much pressure they ripped my stitches out. Then they had to call the ambulance to to come and get me to the hospital. That’s when I found out that most ambulances only have two people in it. One to drive in the other to monitor vitals. They needed a third person to hold the artery so I wouldn’t bleed out. So once the ambulance got there they called the fire rescue. Once the fire truck was there that gave them the third person to hold the artery. So the four of us rode in the ambulance while the fire truck escorted us to the hospital. That’s where the rescue worker handed me off to the ER nurse and she held my arm until the doctor came in. Then once again someone grabbed hold the top of the tear and the bottom of the tear and he stitched up the now larger tear. He said the fistula still had a thrill so it should be okay. I was admitted to the hospital for three days with the hospital did my dialysis treatment. I usually get dialysis three times a week but during these times I was only receiving it twice a week. That’s because one of the dialysis days fell on the day they stitched me and my levels did not become dangerously high.  (Third admit to the hospital for this glitch in dialysis).

At this time, we were only half way through this roller coaster but we didn’t know this. It would have been nice to know but  that would have taken a really good crystal ball.