Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Worst ever cramps

As you know, I have been trying to figure out my dry weight. I really should have figured this out sooner. Yesterday shouldn't have happened.

I was about 4.2 kgs above my dry weight. I had not got enough dialysis the previous night. So, there was some fluid from the previous day that I had to remove. So, I told Jayaram to set the UF to 4.5 kgs to account for the half liter of water I usually have at night and keeping in mind that I had just had dinner, so about 300 grams was probably food.

As usual, for the first few hours, everything went well. Around 4:20 in the morning however, I started cramping. The familiar sensation of the calf muscles contracting involuntarily causing my feet to get pulled was mildly disturbing at first. These days, in the rare occasion of cramps, I don't wake Jayaram. I simply press my feet downward and it usually takes care of the cramps. That is what happened yesterday as well.

But a few minutes later, the cramping worsened. The pain was severe and my left calf muscles contracted really badly. No amount of pressure on the feet would release my calf muscles. The pain become unbearable quickly.

I started screaming. I woke Jayaram up and shouted out that I had bad cramps. I asked him to push my feet to release the muscle that had contracted so stubbornly. He tried and it worked. But only just. Within a few seconds, the muscle contracted again, this time worse than before. With every passing second, the pain was becoming worse. I was shouting out with pain.

Jayaram immediately opened the saline clamp and let some saline into my blood. It did not help. By now I was sitting up on my bed. No help. I asked Jayaram to give me more saline. He reopened the saline clamp and pumped in about half a liter of saline. I also stood up simultaneously, something I have never done on dialysis. There was immediate relief. The saline was giving my blood some volume which was loosening up the muscles.

In a few minutes, the saline helped relieve the cramps entirely. I settled down in my bed and slowly went back to sleep.

Dialysis ended about an hour after. I was feeling quite exhausted and drained. My fingers were feeling weird. The left calf was also very sore. I went back to sleep after Jayaram closed and left.

This was probably the worst incident in terms of pain that I have had while on dialysis. The blood loss incident was probably more dangerous but I did not have any pain or trauma. This incident was like going through hell for that short period of a few minutes.

Jayaram remarked that he had never seen anyone have such severe cramps ever. I thought how lucky I was that this happened when Jayaram was there. I have no idea what I would have done if I was alone that night.



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