"How much more time is Dr. Georgi going to take?"
"We don't know, sir. He said he is on his way."
It was back to the waiting area. It was the beginning of summer in Chennai and the waiting area had one humble fan. It was a little hot.
PD had given my life back to me. To think I expected Dr. Shastry to refuse to let me try it!
Dr. Shastry came to my bedside that day, many summers back and did the usual examinations. I asked him if I could try PD. "Sure", he said. The next session, the other doctor, Dr. Dakshinamurthy came to me and said that he had arranged for the representative to come and meet me and plan to start PD. I was getting excited. This was exactly what I had hoped for.
The Baxter rep, Venkatramana came a few days later and explained the whole process. I was also continuing my reading on the internet.
Basically, there would be a small surgery where they would insert the PD catheter somewhere in my stomach and then they would train me for a few days in hospital and then once I got the hang of it, I would be able to go home and do it on my own. Now the surgery usually leaves a slightly biggish scar on the stomach. But these days there was an increasing use of laproscopy to do the PD catheter insertion which caused only a small scar. An experienced surgeon from Australia was going to be visiting the hospital in a few days for a transplant of a small girl. They had arranged for him to do my PD catheter surgery too.
Surgery day came and went without too much of a fuss and the catheter was in place.
A day after the surgery, I had a lot of sharp stinging pain in my lower abdomen. They said it was the tip of the catheter touching nerve ends in my peritoneal cavity. The pain would go once fluid was infused. But that could not be done till the surgery wound healed.
A few days passed. It was time for the first infusion of fluid. All this while I continued hemodialysis. I had fluid and diet restrictions. I was eagerly waiting for PD to start so that I did not have to bother about restrictions. They started with 1 liter of fluid. I could feel a slightly cool liquid filling within me. It was a rather strange sensation.
After a couple of hours, they removed the fluid. It was colored yellow, pretty much like normal urine. Which was not unexpected at all since this was sort of replicating kidney function! Fresh fluid was infused.
Over the next few days, the volume of fluid was gradually increased. Eventually I was doing 2 liters every exchange. Initially there was a little discomfort in my stomach with the fluid in it. I would actually be relieved when the fluid was removed. But I did not mind it at all. I soon threw caution to the winds where it came to my fluid and diet restrictions! And I wasn't feeling bad at all.
I eventually went back home from hospital and the routine was kind of set. Four exchanges every day - the first when I woke up every morning, the second before or after lunch, the third around 5 in the evening and the last before sleeping.
I had to be very careful about infections. Now, PD involves a catheter that is coming out of the stomach and the chances of infection are very high. So, I had to wash my hands thoroughly before an exchange. Every morning, after a shower, I had to clean the 'exit site' or the point where the catheter came out of my stomach with some povidone-iodine solution and then cover it with gauze and tape it securely.
"Doctor has come". There was suddenly a flurry of activity near the reception of Dr. Georgi Abraham's consulting room. The doctor had arrived. This was the second time I was going to be meeting him. There was still some time however. Five people were to see him before I would be shown in.