What is dialysis?

We are back in hospital again for operation no.3 to start the dialysis process. I’ve been absolutely dreading this moment but Finn has managed a lot longer without needing dialysis than the doctors ever expected. Yey go Finny!! At one point it was going to be starting over Christmas when my whole family was here from the UK, so I am extremely thankful that didn’t happen!

We arrived at the hospital yesterday (Sunday) to make sure Finn is all is good for the operation BUT since nothing is ever straightforward the operation has been postponed. Finn has a funny looking patch of dry skin on his side which could be either eczema or ringworm apparently. Nice!

The doctors were worried as if it’s ringworm (fungal infection) this can cause major issues with the operation, such as a nasty infection which is way too risky. However, a dermatologist has since confirmed that it’s definitely NOT ringworm – phew 🙂 the op should go ahead in the next few days.

So the doctors have been preparing us for dialysis for months now, and everyone has been asking me what is dialysis exactly? And what does it do?

Before Finn came along I knew nothing about dialysis, and honestly not much about kidneys either for that matter! I mean why would I?? Now I’m practically an expert on the subject!! I say ‘expert’ very loosely…

I’ll explain a bit about dialysis – in a nutshell – this is what I’ve learned so far from the doctors and my extensive Googling!

Kidneys basically clean your blood and make pee from excess fluid and unwanted chemicals / waste in your blood.

Finn’s tiny multi-cystic kidneys are currently functioning at just 5% which is extremely low. His blood tests every week measure creatinine and urea (waste), both of which are extremely high. And now dialysis will improve his overall function by around 10%. So in theory he should feel 3 X better!!! WHOOP.

Finn finger.jpg

Dialysis does the job of the kidneys and purifies the blood. There are two types of dialysis – peritoneal (inside the body) and hemodialysis (outside the body). Peritoneal is much gentler and generally safe for babies so this is what Finn will be having.

During peritoneal dialysis, a cleansing fluid (dialysate) is circulated through a tube (catheter) inside part of your abdominal cavity (peritoneal cavity). The dialysate liquid absorbs waste products from blood vessels in your abdominal lining (peritoneum) and then is drawn back out of your body via the tube and discarded.

Once the tube has been fitted it will rest and heal for a few days, and dialysis will start with small fluid volumes over 24 hours, aiming for 12 hours on at night and 12 hours off in the day. This process can take anywhere between 3 weeks to 3 months to initiate and then eventually we will go home with the machine.

Once we are back at home it hopefully shouldn’t impact our busy social life too much 🙂

I’m sure we will learn more once we get into it this week.

Wish us luck!

xx

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