I can remember my first day. Actually my first several days. I was cranky. It was understandable. I wasn't happy. Anyway. I remember my first dialysis tech. I also remember I didn't see her again for almost a year. I think they have rotating dialysis techs. iPad on AWF, "If I Ever Lose This Heaven". But don't worry. The center also had a regular staff. I remember the RN. And I find out later she is the sorority sister of one of my friends from high school. Imagine that. She was all business. I also met my social worker that first day. She brought me a duffle bag with the name of the center on it along with some stuff in it, including a blanket. I used that blanket the first day. I got colder than I'd ever been..cold from the inside. Brrrr. Dialysis patients bring a bag with us to treatment. Mine has a blanket, my iPad, headphones and snacks. And phone. We all have blankets.
Later that week I met with a dietician. Kashif, "Help Yourself to My Love". Yep I cranked up the volume. I digress. She was not my assigned dietician, but she gave me a cheat sheet and a booklet on what I could eat. And finally my nephrologist came in. The nephrologist I had in the hospital. After a week or so I was assigned a chair and time at the dialysis center. At that time I got a (more or less) permanent dialysis tech and nurse. With the exception of the nephrologist and dietician, I had access to my team every single day. The nephrologist and dietician I saw officially saw once a week. The dietician however, was there more than once a week, but she had several clients. But if I needed to talk with her, I could. And if something came up, the staff could contact the nephrologist and he'd respond immediately.
So. The dialysis center had 7 modules with 6 patients in each module. Each module had at least one permanent technician and a roving tech. Except when the "shift change" occurred. Rachelle Farrell, "With Open Arms". This song showcases the hell out her voice. I digress. There was a head nurse, a charge nurse and at least 3-5 other nurses on duty. All RNs. No nonsense nurses. Lol. So let's review. I had a nephrologist, a social worker, a dietician, several nurses, 2-3 dialysis techs. Whew. That's a team!!!
When I moved to Las Vegas. My dialysis center was a HUGE disappointment. A nephrologist I may see once a month, if he didn't send his physician assistants. A dietician that was assigned to several dialysis centers in Las Vegas, so we saw her once a month...maybe. But she quit my second week there. I'm pretty sure I didn't see another dietician for another 2 months. 2 social workers spread around several dialysis centers. And yes one of them quit. Roy Ayers, "You Send Me". Close your eyes and float in the music! I will say that the dietician and social worker were compassionate and worked with us, but they were overworked. And I must add that thanks to the social worker I got signed up for home hemodialysis. So there's that. But overall I was underwhelmed with the patient support here. And it is a function of a corporate owned dialysis business...yes business. And it was also a function of the center itself. My center in Detroit was privately owned and non-profit..associated with Henry Ford Health Care Systems.
So now I'm on home hemodialysis, I have a much more personable and personal team. I have a great nephrologist who listens. I have 2 (!) nurses, a dietician and a social worker. And a primary care physician (PCP). Now there are a lot of tentacles here. My nephrologist and PCP need to communicate with each other. And we're getting there. As an aside my medical group is Health Care Partners and they are a division of Davita..which is my dialysis provider. Yet they don't share patient data. WTF? Lol. Soon I guess. Because for damn sure every time I go to a Health Care Professionals office they have access to all my medical records. Lol. Brownstone, "Grapevyne". Talk about some voices. Yeah!
I also a cardiologist because dialysis patients are prone to heart issues. Dialysis shocks the heart. I have a dermatologist because of the porphyria cutanea tarda (sign). And now let's add an Endocrinologist for parathyroid removal. Have we tallied the number of people of my team? 2 nurses, 1 nephrologist, 1 social worker, 1 dietician, 1 PCP, 1 cardiologist, 1 endocrinologist. 8 people. And we're not counting eye doctor and dentist. Lol. And my insurance company has assigned me a nurse to contact (bother me) me every quarter. Sigh.
The Dramatics, "Fall in Love, Lady Love". So what prompted me to write about my dialysis care team? One of the social workers from Defroit. The lead social worker from the center was also my sorority sister. I don't recall how she found out I was an AKA. And I know she was surprised to see me show up for the National Kidney Foundation Zoo Walk. But anyway. She is a fabulous social worker. Once I moved to Las Vegas, we stayed in touch, as well as the RN from Detroit. I gave a shout out to the social worker on the other day. She thanked me and reminded me that March was National Social Workers Month. I didn't know much about social workers, but in the dialysis world a good social worker can make life much more bearable and easy. I've read about nightmarish ones, but I've been fortunate to have really good ones. Great one , really. And my Soror, social worker set the bar for me. Thanks again AJ. Happy National Social Workers month!!
Well that's it for today. Signing off with Tavares, "Check It Out". I remember just staring at their album with those good looking men with the tight Afros! And the voices and harmonies. *swoon*. (And Brian sings this to me). The winds were out of control yesterday. 75 mph winds!!! Semi trucks blown over. Notice I said truckS, plural. A entire half mile of electric poles knocked over and snapped like twigs. Yes people were in cars when this happened. They had to be rescued. And of course was that was right by the strip. Still windy today, but not quite as....robust!
Have a great day and wonderful weekend!