Monday, August 08, 2011

Dialysis Decision

My mom has had kidney problems since I was a kid. She spent a couple of years on dialysis before she received a kidney transplant. After 10 years, her kidney began to fail. Over the past half-year, her health has declined. Beginning in late April, her health has become much worse. In July, she became sick and ended up hospitalized after passing blood. She spent 11 days in the hospital, receiving transfusions, undergoing four scoping-procedures in an attempt to find out where she was bleeding. The bleeding ulcers stopped on their own. Mom was discharged from the hospital, but felt confused and unsettled at home. A couple of days later, a CT-scan showed that there had been a mini-stroke, and her lab work had declined seriously. She was rehospitalized on an IV of diuretics to take the swelling down.

So, the question of the weekend was whether to go back on dialysis or whether to refuse the treatment, which would result in death fairly soon. Would dialysis artificially put off a death which was rapidly overtaking her, or would dialysis be a simple treatment that would resolve many of her health problems?

After much input from many sources, Mom's decision was to try the dialysis for a while. The nephrologist was making the point that most of Mom's failing health is due to the uremia. Her body is being poisoned because her kidney is not functioning to clean out the icky stuff. He says her mental state, her strength, her edema, her appetite, and possibly even her ulcers can be fixed by cleaning out the toxins.

Mom is currently receiving an "ash splint catheterization" which will be used temporarily (that is, 2-6 months) for dialysis. The doctor hopes that she will begin to see increased strength and appetite and clarity-of-thought in a week, after maybe three dialysis treatments. They are hoping that, when she feels better about her thinking ability and decision-making ability, she will be able to decide whether she wishes to continue dialysis, and if so, whether she wishes to go with hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. We don't know yet if dialysis starts this afternoon or tomorrow. She has so much swelling/edema and so many toxins in her body, that she says dialysis will hurt a lot from the cramping.

So, for family members who've been wondering how it's going, that's where we stand for this week.


  1. Thank you for the detailed explanation, Susan. God bless your mother and all who care for her. I pray the dialysis is effective and leads to marked improvement in both body and mind.

  2. Praying for all of you, my friend. Hoping this proves to be a good decision.

  3. That's what I get, reading blogs every few days instead of every day. I miss important news. :-(


  4. Praying for her and you! This caring of our elders is stressful!

  5. Will keep both of you in my prayers.