The right arm

They decided it would be okay to put the fistula in the right arm. I went to the hospital at about 10:30 in the morning. This time they used the left arm to put in the I. V. and take the blood pressure. They had to put the IV close to the hand so they could use the forearm to take the blood pressure. The bicep in the left arm is where the graft was that they had to remove. They were able to get me on the operating table before noon. I was out of the operating room by a little after five. I left the hospital at around 7:30 at night. I was the last one to leave recovery. As a matter of fact the nurse that was watching me was called back in after going home and eating dinner. When I got out of the car at home my right arm was throbbing so much my wife called the Doctor.   He said it was probably just the nerves in the arm and to just double the pain pills for the night.

The left arm had about eight stitches in it and really didn’t hurt at all. My neck had to three stitches in it and made it hard to shave but it didn’t hurt. Now my right arm as far as I could see had no stitches. It was just glue closed. There was a large lump in my forearm before the elbow. There was another lump of smaller size left of my bicep. This is where he cut the veins and took off the side branches and then connected them up together. I took a week off bowling because it hurt a little to straighten my arm. My wife kept saying that it look like a little alien would come crawling out of my arm with a large lump was. It took about 3 1/2 to 4 weeks for that large lump to shrink down to a small lump. I use my arms to stand up, so during the first week after the operation it was very hard for me to stand up. My wife went back to putting a gate belt on me to make it easier to lift me onto my feet. The Sunday two days after the operation we went out for breakfast. I was able to get into the booth okay but when it was time to get out my wife grabbed my gait belt and pulled me out of the booth. I did not quite get my knees straight on this attempt so I then collapsed on top my wife and pinned her to the table next to us. Thankfully the waitress saw the gait belt and knew what to do and lifted me to my feet. Another waitress tried to help and started reaching for my arm. Both me and my wife said the same thing… don’t grabbed the arms.

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.