It’s kind of a big deal to switch dialysis centers/doctors. Even though we started the process from the hospital last week, I spent Friday and Monday taking lots of phone calls from various people at the previous center, first wondering why we were leaving, then trying to talk us into staying. We had been there since late autumn 2014, so I guess we had become a fixture—Vernon and his attendant friends and family. But my mind was made up, and I could tell many of them didn’t want to know the real reasons for the change. In the end, the main reason I expressed is that I think the new nephrologist and internist will be able to provide Vernon with more connective care, since they actually know one another. Also, the new center is only four miles from where he lives so his travel will be much easier, and he’ll less likely be late to his sessions.
So yesterday was our big first day at the new center. It’s with a different company as well, so I didn’t know what to expect. Location wise, it’s amazing,right off of PCH—you can see the cars whizzing by through a glass door to the street. And the building/parking-lot backs up to a marina. So at least Vernon might get a nice view for a a minute or two each day.
It’s an older facility, not as slick as what we were used to. It’s a different company as well. But the staff was immediately warm and friendly, with everyone introducing themselves and looking us in the eye. It felt better right away. I asked Vernon what he though. He looked around and smirked: “It’s not really very nice, is it?”
I told him this: “If you had a choice of living in a big new house in the suburbs or an old apartment in a vibrant city, which would you pick?” He said he’d choose the apartment—the old Vernon emerging. “Well, that’s kind of what is happening here, Vernon…the place might not look great, but it’s a better situation.” He seemed to understand.
He was set to do three hours a week (I’d hoped for shorter sessions, but they didn’t add up to enough.) Though he was able to lay pretty still and seemed comfortable for most of the session, I knew within an hour that three hours would be too long, not just for him…but for me and most likely, his sitters. Three hours is a big jump from two. We decided to add another day (Wednesdays at noon) to the three days a week already scheduled.
The nephrologist came in and checked on him. She suggested that the upper arm swelling might actually be caused by a venous blockage—apparently more likely to occur when the dialysis catheter and the shunt in the arm are on the same side of the body. Really? Why couldn’t his previous nephrologist pick up on that? I wonder how many other things we missed out on under his advice. I know there are a few.
But Vernon sat well and seemed comfortable. It was tough but we managed three hours. I took the coast home that beautiful afternoon, even stopping for a coffee and a bit of reading in the sunshine on my way home. (Justine not getting out of rehearsals for her play until 3:00) It’s a little longer drive now, but sometimes a change of driving scenery makes all the difference.
Today (Wednesday) I went again for our new afternoon time. It will be a challenge making this time work, but I’m still grateful for the opportunity to change things up. He did well again today (of course he started asking about going home within the first hour, as usual.) We managed to share the headphones and listen to an entire TED Talk about Brexit together. He seemed to enjoy it till the end, when he started getting tired. So far, so good…