Thursday, April 26, 2012

when dialysis machine crashes

Well, tonight was a first since starting home dialysis in August 2010. I got Kevin all hooked up to the machine and got his vitals & machine numbers all written down. Then usually it is 15 minutes until the alarm goes off & I have to take his vitals & machine numbers again. Then every 30 minutes after that. However, after about 10 minutes, the alarm goes off. I check the screen & it is a RED 610. FYI - Red is bad, yellow is cautionary.We are used to alarms, they are part of life with dialysis, but we have never seen 610 before. I try rebooting the machine & it wouldn't let me. I turned the power off & back on. It tried to power back up, but then back to RED 610. After 3 attempts, we tried to call dialysis nurse & got no answer. So we called NXStage, the dialysis company. Of course, it is like talking to any support desk. I got a foreigner that wants to read from a computer screen.

During dialysis a pint of his blood is out of his body until the very end when we use the machine to push his blood back to him. We were taught in dialysis class & it is in all of our manuals that you only have a few minutes to get his blood back to him before it clots off, then you lose all of the blood that is in the machine. So, it's been awhile now & the support guy wants me to keep going through all of the same steps that I've already done 3 times. I notice that Kevin's blood is getting pretty dark, so I know that I need to get his blood back to him as soon as I can.

I tell the guy to just tell me what RED 610 means! He finally says that it is a machine pump failure. Really!? Why couldn't you have told me that 10 minutes ago!? I told him that I am just going to get his blood back to him now & forget it. Then he says that he will send a new machine tomorrow. Great! Thanks!

I got all of his blood back to him. And for now all is good. Except, he did not get the dialysis that he needed tonight. In order to keep feeling good & keep the toxins from building up in his body, he has to do dialysis 6 days a week. He has had a fishing trip with his buddies from church planned for several weeks, so was planning on using tomorrow as his night off. If he goes 2 days without dialysis, he swells up, chest starts hurting & he gets really tired.

Most dialysis days are not this dramatic, thank goodness. He has been on the transplant list for a year now. He is an O blood type, which has the longest waiting list. We still hold tightly to our faith and know that God has a plan and when the purpose of that plan is revealed, we know it is going to be spectacular.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Italian Cheesy Bread

I don't know anybody that doesn't like cheesy bread. It's great with pasta or a salad or as an appetizer. It is so simple, yet so delicious. Topping with fresh chopped herbs really puts it over the top. I hope you try it & enjoy.

I also sprinkle a little garlic powder over the crust before the Italian Seasoning. BUT, you have to be careful not to use too much. Too much garlic will make the whole dish bitter & inedible. 

HEALTHIER VERSION - use an organic or whole grain crust or pita bread. Since I don't eat white bread anymore, I use whole grain pita bread & it is just as delicious. When using the pita, I follow steps 1-6 then put in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

1 refrigerated pizza crust
2-3 cups of shredded Italian cheese
1 medium tomato – chopped
Olive Oil
McCormick Italian Seasoning
Chopped fresh or dried parsley
Chopped fresh or dried basil

1)               Spread pizza crust onto a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
2)               Drizzle olive oil on crust.  Using a pastry brush or your hand, spread olive oil all over crust.
3)               Sprinkle Italian seasoning all over crust.
4)               Spread Italian cheese onto crust being sure to cover completely (otherwise it’s not cheesy bread).
5)               Add chopped tomato on top of cheese.
6)               Top with parsley and basil.
7)               Bake according to directions on pizza crust.
8)               Cut into squares & enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Party food - mini cheesecake bites

It is only April and this year has already been full of parties, showers & weddings. My friend's daughter had her Sweet 16 party a couple of weeks ago. They allowed me the privilege of preparing food for the party. I only have sons, so I am used to doing "guy food". My boys & their friends like meatball sliders, taco cheese dip, sausage balls, barbecue, etc. I decided it was best to stay away from messy foods & wanted to keep it simple with bite-size foods they could eat with their hands. Since we are in "party season" with graduations, weddings, etc. I thought I might share some quick and easy party food recipes with you. They are not healthy by any means, but sometimes we all need to indulge and party.

The menu was ham & turkey wraps, crackers & cheese logs, garlic cheesy bread & mini cheesecake bites.
Each of these recipes are very easy and make a beautiful presentation. I will post the other recipes in separate posts so they are easy to find. Please let me know if you try them and if you liked them or not.

I didn't get a great picture of these, but I can tell you they are very pretty and yummy.

2 – 8 ounce blocks cream cheese (ROOM TEMPERATURE)
2 – 7 ounce jars marshmallow cream
1 – 8 ounce tub Cool Whip
Nilla Wafers (or Oreos)
1)     Beat cream cheese & marshmallow cream together.
2)     Fold in Cool whip
3)     Place a Nilla Wafer in mini muffin liners
4)     Spoon or pipe mixture onto Nilla Wafers
5)     Place in refrigerator for a few hours to set up

Makes about 60 mini cheesecake bites.

NOTE:  I add strawberries, blueberries, maraschino cherries and/or kiwi on top. I also like to drizzle melted chocolate over the top.

Other additions could be: toasted coconut, slivered almonds, etc. Make it your own. Add whatever toppings you like. 
For Easter, green coconut would be pretty on top with a couple of jelly beans.
For July 4th or Christmas, red or green coconut would look great and of course, strawberries & blueberries for July 4th would look great also. 

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