A Hemodialysis Guide

**Before I get a dozen messages about how awful sugar is, let me say my mom is not diabetic, she’s not even pre-diabetic. Her pancreas is working great. Her and I are more likely to suffer bouts of low blood sugar than high, but neither of us have it bad enough to be considered hypoglycemic either.

The dialysis clinic where my mom does her treatment three times a week gave me a book titled “A Caregiver’s Guide To Hemodialysis.” It covers things such as diet and exercise for dialysis patients. Their counselor has also called me twice to see how things at home are going, which is nice. I’m learning I have to meal plan better as well as make more stuff from scratch. For instance, cake mixes often use phosphate preservatives and phosphorous is one of the things we have limit her intake of, but here’s the thing, dialysis doesn’t just remove water and toxins, it can remove protein from the blood and weight loss is a common side effect. To combat this they recommend dialysis patients consume more calories via things like white cakes and fruit pies.

I told the counselor during one of our calls when she mentioned making white cake without a cake mix that I’d learned to bake bread in the last few years and she told me I could bake anything, if I could bake edible bread. I have yet to make a cake from scratch, I don’t think it will be a huge problem, except… I found a recipe for blackberry marble cake in one of the dialysis cookbooks the clinic gave me. Mom and I both love blackberries and it looked very pretty and yummy , so I’ve set my sights on making it Friday. But as I read the end of the recipe I noticed something odd. It said to ice with homemade blackberry frosting, but didn’t have the frosting recipe and wait… I have to make my own frosting? I feel I am competent enough to make a cake from scratch, but frosting, I’m not sure about. This is partly because I don’t like frosting, I scrape it off pieces of cake or cupcakes I eat and put it on the side of my plate. And no, I really do dislike all frosting; I don’t like buttercream frosting, regular frosting, or cream cheese frosting. I will eat glaze and the reason J doesn’t like my cakes is because I will make fancy glazes (I make a cherry rum glaze that is amazing) for them, but I won’t put frosting on them and he doesn’t care for glaze.

Tuesday was Pi day, so I made an apple pie from scratch. I used homemade apple pie filling and made a butter based pie crust. It turned out well, which is something of a miracle because I struggle with pie crust (I have trouble getting it the right consistency).

I successfully made pie crust and I’ve successfully made cinnamon rolls and several types of bread, surely I can manage frosting… Especially for blackberry marble cupcakes…

In writing news, we are still trying to find a new routine in our house (for everything) and I’ve had much less time to write since my mom got sick. Adjusting to having acute and traumatic kidney failure has zapped her energy and she’s lacked the energy during the day to let me sit in my office uninterrupted to write while she takes care of our dogs. I’ve only managed a few thousand words this week as a result and am hopeful I can get a significant amount of time over the weekend to write.

In April, Lola has a biopsy. While my mom was in the hospital at the beginning of the month, I noticed a knot in the muscle of Lola’s right leg (this is the bad hip leg). She was scheduled for her yearly vaccinations the following week and the vet examined it to the best of her ability at that appointment and we scheduled Lola for a biopsy April 18th. If it’s a benign fatty tumor (which is our hope), the biopsy will turn into surgery to remove it, because it is deep in the muscle tissue of Lola’s leg it will prevent her from using that leg if we leave it. If the biopsy reveals it’s cancer, we’re looking at something totally different (and worse) based on it’s location.


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