I’ve just had my first dialysis session. I never thought it would come to this, even though I’ve had health issues ever since my heart attack back in 2006. I had treatment for obesity and hypertension and the doctors kept warning me my kidneys were failing. Months ago they told me they wanted to create a dialysis shunt in my arm, but I said no. I hoped to recover on my own terms. But one week ago, I got terrible cramps and Janie had to rush me into hospital. Later on, I learned that the pain hadn’t been caused by my kidneys but by food poisoning. Nevertheless, my kidney function was deteriorating.
Here in Boston I have enrolled in a program called RightStart offered by Fresenius Medical Care North America. RightStart means one nurse is assigned to me as my case manager and shares medical knowledge with me. A dietitian helps Janie and me find out about what food I should eat and a social worker takes care of my health insurance issues.
It's okay when new patients vent their frustration, cry, or complain! They are in the process of changing their lifestyle; it's a grieving process. RightStart gives each case manager the opportunity to be there for new patients in a one-on-one setting.
My RightStart program should be over now, but I have missed several units because of my work, and there are still things I need to know about emergency procedures and about traveling while on dialysis. My time in Boston will be over soon, and Sheryl Fletcher has promised to continue working with me even after I have changed facilities. I’ve got used to the dialysis machine now, and I realize that I have been critical of people and issues that were there only to help me.