This started out as one post, but it got so long that I decided to split it into two or more posts! So on with it...
Coincidentally enough, the first song I heard so very early on Thursday morning was Etta James' "At Last" - lovely lovely song, and what a voice! To make sure that I would be at the PD clinic by 8:00am sharp, I left home at the ungodly hour of 6:30am (well, aimed for 6:30 am, actually left at 6:45am, then realized I had to stop for gas. Argh!), and by the time I was really on my way, it was already 7am. I was dreading the traffic jams on the way in, which from experience I knew would be bumper-to-bumper most of the way. Didn't help that there was a traffic jam even before I reached the freeway, too early for some idiot to be out driving...
But let me start at the beginning. The week before, on Monday, I'd called the PD unit and complained that they hadn't yet called me in for CCPD training, and when were they going to? Well, Tuesday, the nurse called back and asked if I'd be available Thursday and Friday of the following week. IF I would be available? Hell, I rearranged my work life to BE available those two days! So I started counting down the days until I could have the cycler training. I didn't mind that I had to work really hard, harder than usual, in the days leading up to. I was going to have my cycler training! And I had absolutely no idea of what to expect. No idea how large the cycler was, although I knew it had to be small enough to be hand-luggage on a flight - but have you seen the size of some suitcases that people bring on flights as carryon bagagge?!!
I woke up at 5:30am that day, because I needed time to take a shower (I'd been working with my India team until almost midnight the previous night). I need roughly one hour to finish up my morning routine with shower, and I really wanted to be able to leave the house by 6:30am. I hurried through the shower, getting my dressing changed, picking out the outfit to wear that day, and was downstairs and almost ready to go by 6:!5am. I knew I needed a cup of coffee to stay awake through the drive... And by the time I finished the cuppa and responding to a couple emails, it was 6:35am. Got my socks on in record time, and was out the door. Got in the car, started it, then realized I'd forgotten my book. Run in again, get the book. Back in the car, I realized that I'd forgotten my dialysis log, so off I ran upstairs to get it. Finally, I managed to actually leave the house. Then one look at the gas gauge, and I groaned. I would have to stop to get gas, because I certainly didn't want to risk sitting in traffic all the way into Seattle with less than a quarter tank of gas.
What happened was - there was hardly any traffic on I5 heading into Seattle. I got there by 7:40am! Crazy weird, it was, because most other weekdays, traffic would be horrible. Mom, K and S would all readily testify to horrible traffic, I think. This time, in the clinic, I got the room with the bed, and there, finally, was the mysterious machine that I had been hoping would solve my singing issues. It was about 24x12x8in - about the size of 4 17" laptops stacked one on top of the other. There was a lever on the front of it, and a basic control panel, but nothing else. I couldn't see where any tubes would be connected. There was a BIG bag of solution on the machine, being warmed up - I saw that it was a 7 liter bag (picture bugging out eyes at this point). There was another big solution bag in the shelf below, as well as a regular-sized one.
Because I hadn't done my morning exchange yet (having left home at such an ungodly hour), I was getting anxious by the time the nurse came in at 8:00am. First thing I blurted out was, "I haven't done my morning exchange yet." And she said, "Good, because we are going to use the cycler to do a short cycle of 2 hours." She told me that she had a choice for me - I could entirely eliminate the daytime exchange if I used a relatively new sort of fluid, that used a different molecule (Icodextrin) instead of the regular dextrose. And the thing about this new fluid is that it NEEDS to be in the body for at least 8-14 hours to do its best work. Which nicely eliminated the daytime exchange, but it didn't solve the problem of the 2 litres of fluid that I would still have to have in me all day. I got a little upset at that point, because it meant that I still wouldn't be able to sing - I wouldn't need to do daytime manual exchanges, but I still wouldn't be able to sing.
And then my brain lit up with an idea - was there any way I could do a split exchange, that is, do a drain, go have my lesson, then come back and do the fill? The nurse said that of course I could, provided I didn't go more than 3-4 hours between drain and fill. That part was easy, because I could be at my lesson and back within an hour and a half. The not-so-easy part would be to remember to use not an Icodextrin bag the previous night, but just a simple dextrose solution bag (like my usual) for the final fill. *whack* That's the sound of palm meeting forehead - turns out I could have used this very split-exchange technique even while doing manual exchanges, so I need not have given up on singing at all! All these months lost... Oh well. But I was also literally dancing around the little room because I would be able to sing again!
And I will leave you with this happy thought, until the next installment of the CCPD training series (CCPD Part II - Training) :)