We've been at it for a month now; going with dad to hemodialysis. We're getting the hang of it. It's been relatively smooth. Here's what the day brings:
- I leave home by 12:30pm to get to mom & dad's by 1pm.
- Once there I get dad's bag ready, coat and open the garage door.
- Wait for EMS truck to come.
- Help EMS guys with transfer from wheelchair to stretcher, explaining how it should be done. Now that we've been at it for a month, we're starting to see the same EMS guys, so they already know the best way to transfer him and I don't have to continue repeating myself.
- Follow EMS truck to facility in my car.
- Once at the facility I help the EMS guys transfer dad from stretcher to Lazy Boy chair.
- I make sure he's got his pillows in the right places and cover him with a blanket.
- Nurses attend to dad by removing the dressing from the port and cleaning the area and putting new dressing on - they connect him to the machine. During this time, dad & I have to wear surgical masks. They attach a blood pressure monitor.
- I give them all the new information regarding how he's doing, amount of urine produced, if there's been any updates or changes.
- Then once he's all connected, I set up the iPad (for a while I was using my work PC) - ask him what he wants to watch, put on his headphones (he just got some nice coconuts from my sister Terry) and click "play".
- I set my timer for the 3 and a half hours that he has to have his blood cleansed.
- Occasionally my mother will want me to run errands for her during the time that he is having his treatment. Occasionally my father will want me to run errands for him (Micheal's to get more paint). Occasionally I need to run to the bank or grab a meal.
- Otherwise I am sitting with him the entire time, talking, watching the movie, talking with the nurses, having a meeting with the dietitian or the doctor and taking care of anything that he needs at the moment; a tissue, a small drink of water, etc..
- Once his time is up and the EMS guys are waiting for him (the nurses call them to let them know what time he'll be done. They are mostly on time, but they have also been a half hour early or a half hour late), we do everything we've done before, only backwards.
- When he is back comfortably in his wheelchair, I make him a little something to eat. The dietitian wants him to have a good, protein heavy meal because during the treatment, he loses a lot of protein.
- I update mom on anything that the nurses have told me/asked me and then I head home.
He has different reactions to the treatment - at least we are under the impression that it's the treatment that is causing the lethargy and the small amount of hallucinations.
Sometimes he is super-tired and other times he is super-chatty.
I have asked my mother to have one of the aides take him on Wednesday's, so that I don't have to take a 1/2 day from work. Today will be her 2nd time (3rd really, but last week he was in the ER observation area and so, the aide didn't have to go with him to dialysis, but she did go to the hospital to check on things).
The facility and the nurses are really nice. The place is clean, smells clean and is set up nicely. The nurses are all very attentive and will talk to him about his interests such as painting and anything auto related.
Most days, the place is packed. Mostly older people like my dad - a couple of people more my age and on Monday, there was a young person that was checking the place out with his mother.
We purchased an iPad so that we could load it with stuff that he would like. Jerome has burned all of dad's DVDs and has loaded them onto the iPad. We have put scans of his paintings and some family photos in the photo album. We've added an app for Euchre and also an app that will allow him to sketch. We've loaded the Pandora app and added his favorite musical groups such as Simon & Garfunkel & Dave Brubeck. Mostly, he uses it to watch movies. He's a huge fan of Westerns and James Bond. If the facility had a better Wi-Fi situation, he'd be able to catch up on his Primetime shows. I overheard one of the head nurses telling the young person on Monday that they were trying to get better Wi-Fi, so that would be awesome!
It's been nice so far to spend this time with my dad. He tells me that I'm sweet to him. I tell him it's because he's sweet. He seems to be a little over concerned that he's a bother. I tell him that's why they had 5 kids...and if they hadn't had 5...who would be sitting with him now??? (sort of a joke). So, it's a good thing they didn't stop at 4. :-)