So how did I develop kidney disease?
Now that is the million dollar question. I used to be very active and walked 3 times a week and over weekends walked to the cross on the mountain. The cross used to be diagonally above the tower here on the Outeniqua mountains.
I remember the doctor at the time said there is blood in my urine, but it is okay as I am so active, but slowly over a period of time the walking slowed down until I just stopped walking.
This was when I was diagnosed with heart failure with less than 6 months to live, but this is another story.
I had to go to the local hospital for heart function tests and on discharge was phoned by the specialist who asked me these weird questions about my kidneys. He asked me over and over the same questions. I ended up in Groote Schuur Hospital where I stayed for 2 months and I had an Aortic Valve replacement. The renal department supported me through the operation and the recovery afterwards.
It was not very long after this open heart surgery that I was told I have 5 years with my kidneys as they were deteriorating fast. Thanks to the care of the doctors at the local hospital I was approved for peritoneal dialysis and had to have the Tenckhoff catheter fitted.
A PD catheter (sometimes called a Tenckhoff catheter) is a special tube that is inserted into your abdominal cavity (space around the organs within your tummy). ... You will need to have an operation to insert your PD catheter.
I had the catheter fitted May 2015, and I attach myself to a bag 4 times a day every day. Luckily I do look after myself and have been given permission to miss a whole day of dialysis, so Saturday mornings is me time. It is wonderful to just be. I make sure I take full advantage of this “free” morning. This still leaves me with 2 bags I can “miss” during the week.
I have had to become an expert at organising my life. I need supplies for home and work. When I am at work (attached to the bag) I very often have to deal with customers. I am unable to move around as I am supposed to be in a sterile environment and have discovered customers come in 3 distinct types. The first look at me the bags and are out of here like a dose of salts. The next lot asks me all sorts of questions the why and how and really seem interested in what I am doing.
The third are the absolutely amazing ones. Strangers walk in here, look at the bags, the set up; ask me a few pertinent questions and without batting an eyelid offer me a kidney.
I have to watch what I eat and am on a fluid restricted diet. Yes tomato sauce is classed as a fluid.
The two things I miss most being on Peritoneal Dialysis is having a proper cup of tea…you know those cups that can hold half a bottle of wine…one of those. I now seek out the smallest cup, ensure my tea is piping hot and sip this. Very sad really!
Then there is swimming in the sea. The nephrologist Dr Vermeulen has now given me permission to swim providing the sea looks clean, but I am so wary of getting infection. I just want to float in the sea without a care in world!
A special thanks to the staff of the renal department George Provincial hospital. Thank you for holding my hand, supporting me and always being there for me. Dr Alda Vermeulen - thank you.
End of part 2