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.



  1. I cannot even imagine your struggle, Lori, but I do know that God has a plan and a purpose for everything he allows to come into our lives. I love you, and I believe that the end will be better than the beginning, and that JOY IS COMING IN THE MORNING!!! PRAISE OUR LORD!

  2. You are my hero! :) God will give you strength beyond your means. (By the way, LOVE the new blog design!!)