29) Stranger in North Dallas Land

July 13, 2006

North Dallas Dialysis Center: I am a visitor in a foreign dialysis center, if you can consider N. Dallas a foreign land (and that's another story). I arrive right on time at 4:00 pm. This place looks more like a medical clinic, with a well-furnished waiting room, a glassed-in receptionist, and a long hallway leading back to the "treatment room". A tech comes out and gives me 5 releases to sign and stands their impatiently while I try to read a little bit about what I'm signing.... basically that I'm on my own legally if anything were to happen in their building.

I get called to the back and led to a bed after I weigh in. A bed? I try to figure out how to approach a bed... do I sit on the edge, lie down, take off my shoes? What is the proper bed-patient behavior. I decide to make my self comfortable so I slip off my sandals and jump into the middle of the bed, causing it to bounce a few times. An Asian guy named Terry comes over to cannulate me. He asks me to stand for my first BP and I stand on the floor barefoot, saying at my center they say not to do this... and he replies that it is not proper here either, although he promises the floor is quite clean. He makes conversation (Where you from? Where you staying? OH! Rich people live there. How many chairs at your center? How long you coming here? ETC) while he smoothly cannulates me. A difference here is that he runs the tubing from my fistula on my left arm, accross my chest, to the machine on the right of the bed. So the whole time I am conscious of these warm tubes laying accross me pulsing gently.

This place is a lot smaller than my center in Austin. There are about 10 chairs and 5 or 6 beds. Terry explains that they operate 24/7 and have overnighters who receive long dialysis as they sleep here. He mentions that overnight dialysis is twice as slow and better for some patients.

Later, Erleen, a tall, large African American woman stops by to introduce herself and make small talk for awhile. None of the other staff, except an Asian nurse at the end, say anything, introduce themselves, or pay much attention to me. I do hear that there are two other 'visitors' in the place tonight. I settle down to reading my Alex novel and read until the news at 5:30. The TVs here swing around from behind you and settle right in front of your face, like Max in The Navigator. I had to lower the back part of my bed to get some distance from the TV. Sometime during the local news I drift off for a nap and wake up at 8 pm.

By 8:30 Erleen is de-cannulating me and my first out-of-town dialysis session is about to be over.

Notes: In at74.3 Kg. and out at 71.8 Kg.

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