Staying Sane During Dialysis

Because I had kidney disease, I was on dialysis for some time. People new to the experience ask questions about the process and I have volunteered to counsel them through my doctor’s office. They want to know how I could sit for so long without getting anxious, bored, stiff and mentally tired. Sure, you have to prepare yourself for any of these situations. Sitting for long periods during your dialysis treatments can be difficult at any stage of your illness. Here are some suggestions on how to deal. I applaud anyone who can get through dialysis without complaints.

To help ease the way for the many long hours, be sure to ask about different seating options. You can sit upright and read or recline on a bed and relax. On different days, you may change your preference. The assistants will make every effort to make you comfortable so let them know if you have any problems. Communication is my first and most important suggestion.

Next, you can navigate the dialysis waters by learning how to deal with sitting fatigue. I recommend this blog post by Higher Massage on the topic. It happens to everyone, no matter how many pillows they give you. Even if you are lying down, you will experience muscle aches now and then. My recommendation is to ask for a massage at the end of the session, or even in the middle of it if it is convenient. I found massage to be of great help and I went home feeling much better. If I waited until later, the stiffness had already set in.

Last but not least, you will need to pass the time by doing something to preoccupy your mind such as listening to music, watching TV, sewing, doing crossword puzzles, or reading. How about a combination of several of these. Depending upon the time you spend in dialysis, you will have your preferences. Some days you can do one thing and other days, you can change it up. Be sure you take something with you that you can look forward to. I often found that I enjoyed talking with other patients in the room. Sharing stories and special interests always was interesting and enjoyable. You feel less tied to your dialysis machine when you behave like a real human.

Most dialysis centers will offer things to do and there is always a plethora of magazines. You always have time to catch up on your reading when you suffer from kidney failure. The same goes for watching recorded movies and TV shows you missed while away. I love movies, so this was a real boon in dealing with dialysis. I also talked to friends on the phone, texted messages and read my emails. Many family members knew my hours and made themselves available. They were so supportive.

Above all, my suggestions including keeping up a good front. A positive attitude will take you far. You will get through the experience with your sanity intact.