The Cycler

Continuous cycler-assisted peritoneal dialysis (CCPD)  CCPD is usually done at night, while you sleep. You will connect your catheter to tubes going to a machine called a cycler. This machine does your exchanges for you. It will fill your abdomen with dialysate, wait for the correct dwell time, and then drain the used dialysate from your abdomen into a bag. The machine will refill your abdomen with clean dialysate and begin the process again. -American Kidney Fund

Continuous cycler-assisted peritoneal dialysis (CCPD)

CCPD is usually done at night, while you sleep. You will connect your catheter to tubes going to a machine called a cycler. This machine does your exchanges for you. It will fill your abdomen with dialysate, wait for the correct dwell time, and then drain the used dialysate from your abdomen into a bag. The machine will refill your abdomen with clean dialysate and begin the process again. -American Kidney Fund

As I lie awake at night listening to the machine and avoiding the brightness from the screen, I am still in awe that this is my life.  For the last five months, I have been on the cycler - a dialysis machine that operates as I sleep. The cycler was mentioned in a previous post.

This is my new normal, and oh, how I wish it wasn’t.  I feel that no one really understands how this invades my life and daily routines. That said, I am very grateful for this invention that helps me live.

 Sleep comes less easily.  Most nights, I wake up to a tingle of pain in my bladder.  It is called drain pain.  The best way to describe it is that it’s like period cramps but deeper down.  

 Each night, I set aside some time to set up my machine, a couple of hours before I go to bed. Preparing early allows me to pay full attention to cleanliness and sterilization.  

Here are the steps I take to set up my machine.

  1. Gather supplies (dialysis fluid, drain bags, and cassette) and wipe equipment down with bleach wipes.
  2. Wear mask and wash hands for one minute.
  3. Re-enter bedroom with vents covered and animals out.  
  4. Follow directions to set up machine.

a.              DO NOT TOUCH CONNECTING PIECES.

I cannot emphasize how important it is to be clean.  Risks of contamination can lead to peritonitis and other infections.  

 Once my machine is set up I go about my usual night-time routine.  When it is time to connect to my machine before bed, repeat steps 2 and 3, plus one more- sterilizing my catheter connector for two minutes with a bleach solution; then FINALLY I connect.  

 At night when I am connected to my machine, I have limited mobility around the house.  The tube that connects me to the machine is 20 feet long, so I can’t go too far…

 Exhaustion usually puts me to sleep.

 In the morning, I wake up, disconnect (sterilize, get a new cap) and repeat.

Alysia Yamasaki