Cathy, My Catheter

"A PD catheter is a flexible plastic tube that allows dialysis fluid to enter the abdominal cavity, dwell inside for a while, and then drain back out again." -Davita.com  Image courtesy of Diet in Chronic Kidney Disease.

"A PD catheter is a flexible plastic tube that allows dialysis fluid to enter the abdominal cavity, dwell inside for a while, and then drain back out again." -Davita.com

Image courtesy of Diet in Chronic Kidney Disease.

It’s been cold here in Portland, and all I really want to do is soak-away my worries in a steamy hot bubble bath, but the reality is that I can’t.  My catheter is located in my peritoneum and needs to stay sterile at the exit site and avoid bacterial contamination.  There are too many risks if my exit site were to be submerged under water, such as peritonitis and other bacterial infections.  

To better understand my catheter placement, see the image below:

Photo Courtesy of Mayo Foundation.

Photo Courtesy of Mayo Foundation.

My catheter, who I like to call “Cathy” is with me 24/7. She extends a little bit more than 12 inches and is held up by a maternity belt daily.  I know that may be weird, but the tubing is long, and I have to be able to support it and keep it in place. I am fearful of the tube hanging down and taping it doesn’t always work, if I sweat the tape could come off and the tape makes my skin very irritable.

When I chose to do peritoneal dialysis, I knew that I would have a tube coming out of my stomach. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to go swimming in rivers, lakes and hot tubs, and I knew I would have to revamp my wardrobe. I try my best to conceal my tube, because it makes me feel normal.  

I sometimes crave to be normal, where I don’t have to be self conscious about the way my clothes fit or if I look bloated. Because I carry all my weight in my stomach these days, someone mistook me for being pregnant… I’m not pregnant, I just have kidney failure and have fluid in my stomach at all times.

Peritoneal dialysis keeps me alive and when I think about that it’s all worth it.  

If you’re interested in learning more about catheter infections, click here.

 

Alysia Yamasaki