Its been more than two years since I started nocturnal home hemodialysis.
I have come a long way indeed.
I slowly started learning the ropes. At first I just learned how to mix the bicarbonate solution that is used in conjunction with the acid solution that forms the dialysate. This was a piece of cake. You just needed to get the proportions right. Then I learned how to prime the dialyser and tubing before dialysis. This was not rocket science either. For a long time, I used to prepare the bicarb solution and finish the priming before the tech came and he would come and do the cannulation and start dialysis.
I read on the internet that the best thing a dialyzor can do is to cannulate himself. This offers a great advantage. You can actually feel the needles in you so you know exactly how to put them in. So, gradually I gathered the courage to do this. And within a few days I was cannulating myself! This was a great leap for me.
I then also learned to start the whole dialysis myself. Preparation of the bicarb solution, priming, cannulation and then starting dialysis by actually connecting the tubes to the needles and starting. This was great.
From the last month or so, I start off and am into an hour or more of dialysis before the tech comes. He is pleasantly surprised.
The toughest part about starting dialysis is putting the tapes on the needles after cannulation. You have only one hand to do this since the other arm is what you are working on! But I manage somehow.
This is a little risky however since there could be an emergency which I may not know how to deal with. I need to read up on this. But I do it inspite of this because I love the independence this offers. I can start dialysis whenever I want and not have to wait for the tech.