Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dialysis at work

Sunday evening found me busy setting things up so I could do my lunch-time exchange at work. I put together all the supplies I'd need for the day (two clamps, fresh catheter end-caps, paper towels, Purell) and stuffed the lot into a backpack. The heating pad I wrapped around the solution bag, and put that as well into the bag. Then, even though the collapsible IV pole came with its own bag, I stuck the whole thing in and totally unbalanced the backpack. But that's the way it had to be, because there are only so many things I can hang on one shoulder - the right one bears the brunt of any load. So what do I hang on there? Handbag, laptop bag, lunch bag and now the dialysis bag.

At work that day, I thought I would be distracted, but I actually got a lot of work done. I love working with CMR because of the energy she brings to any room, but she is able to work in short bursts, get interrupted and immediately get back to the thread of whatever she was working on before the interruption. I can't do that, not to save my life. I can only look on in awe of anyone who does that. I don't like being interrupted at work because it takes me a long time to fall back into that concentrated phase where I get the most work done. However, to get back to business - CMR wasn't there to sidetrack me that day, because she was on vacation for the week. I got my loooong list of things to do that day whittled down to a surprisingly short one, mainly because she wasn't there tacking stuff on to the end as I finished up things :P

Because of my exhaustion the week before, I'd actually messed up at work - I was supposed to put a particular report on our production system so the person who'd asked for it could run it first thing in the morning (and his mornings are pretty damn early, too!) Monday. I managed to finish it up on Sunday and proudly put it on our pre-production server. I'm so used to doing that, because I HATE to put anything on our production server that hasn't been vetted by the tester. Anyway, I totally, completely forgot that I had to put that report on production, not pre-prod. Monday morning, CMR called and asked me about that report. Which is when I realized my boo-boo... I managed to smooth it over with the guy by saying I wanted our tester in India to take a look, etc. He took my explanation at face value and said he'd check the report the next morning.

Anyway, apart from that, I had no problems on Monday. As soon as I got to work, I set up the heating pad and wrapped it around the solution bag. A very noisy process, because the outer bag that holds the actual solution bag is the thickest, crinkliest plastic they could find. Luckily, people are used to odd noises from CMR's and my little corner of the cube farm (CMR has a lap band, a form of bariatric surgery, so se burps frequently, and me, with my little teeny "ow"s or big startled "OW"s because of my feet), so no one peeked over to see what the noise was. An hour or so after I set up the heating pad, I checked how hot it was - it had certainly heated up the filing cabinet that I'd set it on, but the bag itself - hmmm... not so much. That was when I figured out that this particular heating pad didn't heat equally on both sides. Maybe that's what all heating pads do - I wooden know, as the joke goes. Anyway, I changed sides on the heating pad and checked again after another hour, and what do you know - the bag was finally heating up enough so I could use it!

When it was time, I just put the whole shebang back in the backpack, picked up my laptop in the other hand, and off I went to the restroom which has that mother's room. Nary a a second glance from anyone, which is one thing I like a whole lot - people who are not nosy. Anyway, all the furniture that's in that mother's room is: 2 very low sofas and one low-ish teeny tiny side table (about a foot long by six inches wide, and standing a bit higher than my knee). Oh, and a huge baby-changing station, of course :P Unpacked my stuff there, set up the IV pole, hung the bag. Then closed the door almost to, washed my hands for the prescribed few minutes, and carefully trying not to touch any other surface without a paper towel between it and my hands, I came back into the mother's room and sat down, connected all tubing, etc. Then when it was time to drain, I sat there and watched, but there was nothing coming down that tube. Those bloody sofas were too low for me to be able to drain!

So for 10 minutes, I stood, while the fluid drained from my body (meanwhile doing fun stuff on the laptop that kept my neck and upper back muscles entertained, trying to minimize pain in the afore-mentioned areas). Luckily, standing really drains me FAST. About 5 minutes into the process, I realized I had forgotten to lock the door. Somebody actually poked their head in to see why the door was closed - WTF?! Lady, read the sign on the door - MOTHER'S ROOM! If the door is closed, it stands to reason that someone in there requires P R I V A C Y! I didn't really yell at her - I didn't have to, my expression was enough to send her right back out. And then I inched over and tried to lock the door, but I was already tethered to the one heavy bag on the floor and another heavy bag on a not-too-stable IV pole. So I carefully moved the IV pole enough so I could just reach the door lock with my fingers. Needless to say, I haven't forgotten to lock the door after that.
So - once I got to the fill process, I could sit back down (this time the low sofa helped), and I could change the angle of my laptop screen back to normal. Once my fill was done, I cleaned up my papertowels, the old screw cap and the wrapper for the new one, the crinkly crackly outer bag, wadded it all up and walked out of the room, and casually dropped it into the trash. Went back into the room and packed up the rest of my stuff. There wasn't anybody in the restroom at the time, but while I was emptying the bag/s into the toilet, I did hear someone come in. I had to babysit the entire process of emptying the bags, because the stall doors aren't close enough to the commode for me to employ my usual method (at home, I have a hanger over a door, hang my bags there, wedge the tube under the toilet seat, making sure that it won't spray anywhere outside the bowl, remove the rubber seal, and walk away). ARGH. But at least it didn't take too long - this gravity business is a good deal, I say!

After the bags were empty, I resealed up the tube with the rubber stopper, folded up the bags as small as I could, wrapped the tubing tightly around them, and dropped it into the trash, washed my hands. Walked back into the room and retrieved my stuff and walked out. Time elapsed: 45 minutes, including set up and packing. I was actually surprised to see everything still the same around me, when I left the restroom :D

The next day, I decided to try the other "mother's room" in the building - all I knew was that there was one. So I asked the receptionist, who emailed right back "Yes, there is. Room #blah, right by the kitchenette." What do you know - that was too easy. Close to my desk and all. BUT the door was locked, with an electronic number lock. Back went the email to the recep: "Number lock on door - does that mean this facility is for employees only?" And just as promptly came the reply: "No, here's the combination." So I went there, tried out the numeric key, and looked the room over. Not very big, just an office converted to two teeny nursing cubes (with phone at each desk, and a lamp), with a refrigerator in the corner. No sink. But I stowed my gear in the room, washed my hands as well as I could in the kitchenette sink, and decided to rely on Purell's claim to kill 99.9% of germs on contact. Nothing I could do about the .01% *shrug*

Did my exchange, and then realized I would have to carry back the full drain bag to the bathroom, as a separate step. Another shrug. I'd chosen to go with this room for today, after all. Packed up my gear into the backpack, with the full drain bag (and only a small, abused rubber stopper to keep the liquid in the bag until I was ready to let it out). Took the bag to the bathroom, pissed at one remove, and threw the bags away.

All right - the decision was made. I'd keep using the mother's room in the bathroom. But one of these weekends, I will have to take a chair in there (and leave a note for housekeeping not to remove it) that's at a reasonable remove from the ground. And whose height is also adjustable - high for easy drain, then low for easy fill. If I can also ask them to bring a bigger table in there... but then they're likely to point me to the "other mother's room" and ask me to use that. Besides which, I can't ask for anything, officially, I am not a blue badge (for those of you not around Microsoft people, that's a permanent employee of the Big Satan). I am but a vendor (contractor), a lowly orange-badge. I have also seen purple badges around - gotta ask what kind of employees those are. Royalty, perhaps?

1 comment:

Shyam said...

You made me laugh at work! You made me laugh at work! It's bad to laugh at work. Raises suspicions.