Surviving Summer

Summer is here and the weather in Chicago has been so hot, which means that I have to spend extra time inside and near the A/C. One of the things that the nurses and doctors advise dialysis patients is to watch your water intake.

When I first started dialysis, this was the most difficult part. Having to watch what I ate and drank, especially in the summer when all you want to do is stay cool by drinking plenty of water and refreshing drinks.

Going to the pool is also out of the question because when you have a catheter or have recently had dialysis that day because you're more prone to infection. The first year I was on dialysis I had a catheter on my chest. I asked the nurse if I could go to a water park with my family and she said that I could but to be careful not to get my catheter wet.

I got creative and got a large sandwich bag and cut it up and placed it over my catheter with tape over my chest area and then used some GLAD Press'n Seal sealing wrap since it's sticky. I wrapped my entire chest and back, so that no water would go in, at the end I looked like I was hiding some contraband, but it did the trick.

Thankfully, now I don't have a catheter to worry about because I have a fistula on my right arm. It's a big vein that was constructed on my arm in order for me to get dialysis without a catheter. I still can't go swimming on dialysis days, which include Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but I have the whole weekend, which is pretty cool.

I work out every day and everyone has seen the difference because not only have I gained some muscle, but I sweat out a lot of my water intake, so I don't really need to worry about having too much water when I come to dialysis. In fact, the technicians always ask me that if I'm drinking enough because there are many occasions where they don't have that much water to remove when I go to dialysis, which is pretty good.

This summer I've been to the pool once and I plan to go again. The doctors used to tell me to freeze grapes, or eat ice cubes during the summer, that way I stay hydrated with small quantities of water. You can also take advantage of eating fruit that has high water intake, but not too much since some fruits are actually bad for dialysis patients. Some kidney healthy fruits include apples, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Plus not only do they keep you hydrated but they also have vitamins and taste good.

The summer is always hard for me because the heat makes me dizzy and the sun drains me of energy. But, I find that waking up early to go work out is not only good because I've met some really great people at the gym. Some that have offered to help me workout properly and help me train my body to get stronger. I was even invited to play basketball, which I haven't done since the Michael Jordan years when Chicago basketball was cool.

As you can see I even have a workout buddy at home.

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