Dialysis and WiFi Pads

Update 1/12/13:  I got myself a new pad for Christmas.  It’s a MID Android Pad and it’s 9 inch rather than the 7 inch I had previously.  My only complaint is the short battery time but the navigation controls are much better than the Lenovo.  Here’s a link to the site where I got it. It may not be there after a couple weeks.  At 9 inches it’s still light and can be handled with one hand while I’m in dialysis.  The battery lasts about 3-1/2 hours which in just long enough for me.  I watch a little TV, then power up my Angry Birds and suddenly it’s time to go home!  LOL 

MID Pad

For those of us on In-center Dialysis, we sit in a chair for many, many hours and some are fortunate enough to sleep some or most of the time.  If you’re like me, I can’t sleep with two 15 gauge needle in one arm and a blood pressure cuff on the other. So, I watch TV.  But after a while that gets old.  Really, really old. In fact it’s mind numbing.  I spend most of my time “watching” the Turner Classic Movie channel because it doesn’t have commercials. But I’m not really watching, I’m viewing. My brain usually goes to sleep.

A while back my center put in WiFi but I didn’t have anything that connected with it.  I considered a laptop but after careful thought, I couldn’t see it as very practical.  It’s too large, frankly.  Even a netbook style laptop is too bulky and cumbersome for use during dialysis.  I needed something that can be used with just one free hand (when the BP cuff isn’t inflating anyway).

My solution also had to be inexpensive.  I looked at iphones and the like but I like my simple flip-phone and iphones displays are way too small for my old eyes.  I couldn’t imagine trying to navigate a website on a four inch screen. Plus I can’t see the expense of an extra $40 per month for “data services” with the chance that those could be limited and end up costing me more.

I needed something with a large display, light, one-handed operation, cheap and uses WiFi.  An Apple Ipad was way too expensive.  My brother bought one for his wife so I had a chance to play with it.  Loved it, but the hefty price tag was not in my range.  Then I stopped into Office Depot and discovered the Lenovo Idea Pad for $199. (Read about experience with Depot’s and Lenovo’s customer service is another blog.) I’ve since then found many others at lesser cost but this had all the features and was in my price range. I have no problem with the Lenovo IdeaPad just their customer service.  Most importantly is runs the Android operating system so it’s the same as my son’s phone.  He helped me with getting acquainted with the technology.  Using my fingers to manipulate it was all new to me.  I needed a kid to show me how to use it!

I have a wireless connection (WiFi) at home so it was easy enough to practice with it before using it during dialysis. By the time I took it to dialysis, I had installed several games and other practical “apps” (I learned a new word!) like calendar, clock, etc.  But I found that some games are not accessible while on the center’s WiFi so I’m limited in what games I can play.  But Solitare, a game called “Coin Dozer”, a slot machine game called “Slotmania”, Pandora for music, and 3-D Golf all work so I have plenty of distractions for my 4 hour treatment. (Since then I also discovered WordFeud — a Scrabble-type game that is played with friends or random players from around the world.  More about that in another blog.)

But most importantly, I found the world of social networking!  As a result, I’m twittering like the best of them!  (More about Social Networking and Dialysis in another post.)  See my tweets under @DevonTexas and under the hashtag #dialysis

Suffice to say, this little pad has opened a whole new world for me and that 4 hours goes by so much more quickly now. In fact, the other day, I was stalling the tech trying to take me off because I had a word to play in WordFeud against an opponent in Northern England!  And getting off dialysis at the end of my treatment is one thing I have never avoided! That last hour used to be torture.  Now I don’t notice it at all!  Me and my pad!  Best friends!

Now, during treatment, I still “watch” TV,  but I use my TV as a holder for my pad and “watch” TMC’s oldies in the background or perhaps watch a news channel in silence as I tap my pad in gleeful pleasure and the hours fly by!

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About DevonTexas

I am a person with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) which means my kidneys don't work. Forty or so years ago that would have been a death sentence but today there is Dialysis which means I can be hooked up to a machine that will clean my blood as the kidneys should. Three days a week, I go to a center and have too very large needles stuck in my arm to remove and replace my blood as it passes through a process where it's cleaned and the fluid is removed, a process taking a little over four hours each time. I want to advance knowledge about dialysis so that other patients can learn from my experience and mistakes. We shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, eh? There is so much to be learned and experienced about our predicament. There are vast resources available to support us and enrich our lives but many patients don't know about them. There are also many issues that we have to deal with whether we want to or not. So I blog about them. All comments are confidential until I approve them. If you don't want your comment public, let me know and I will respect that. So, feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy.
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7 Responses to Dialysis and WiFi Pads

  1. cattlekid says:

    I started out with the B&N Nook Color when I was on dialysis in-center. But the Wi-Fi in my center was so atrocious that it couldn’t connect. So I took to using my laptop tethered to my cell phone. Luckily, one day the medical director (young tech-savvy guy) saw me with the tether and asked why I was doing that. I told him flat-out that the Wi-Fi was unusable. Lo and behold, Wi-Fi got fixed and all was well. They still blocked most social networking sites so I kept with the tethering. But the Nook Color was great as far as the last hour or so of treatment when I didn’t have the strength to be using the laptop any more. I’ve since upgraded to an iPad and don’t regret a minute of it – that 12 hours a week flies by now.

    • devontexas says:

      Thanks again for your input. Valuable lessons in your experience. Curious about the social networking blocks. Why? Do you know?

      • cattekid says:

        I believe the social networking sites were blocked to keep the staff from using them on the computers that were on the floor, either that or they were trying to conserve bandwidth. Either way, since I was the only patient on my shift using electronic devices, it was definitely a pain in the rear.

  2. I’m now not certain the place you are getting your info, however great topic. I must spend a while learning more or working out more. Thanks for magnificent info I used to be on the lookout for this info for my mission.

    • devontexas says:

      The issue of fluid control as talked about in the article applies to End Stage Renal Disease patients on hemodialysis. It’s a sticky issue for most of us and is generally a problem we all must deal with daily. I certainly would not take the suggestions in this article for application to non-dialysis patients and those not on hemodialysis. The advice to drink lots of water is great for functioning kidneys but not for dialysis patients.

      Generally my source of information is from my own experience but also with input from various professionals with whom I associate as am Patient Advisory Committee Member of the ESRD Network 14 (www.esrdnetworks.org) and as a Patient Ambassador for Dialysis Patient Citizens (www.dialysispatients.org). However, I am fallible in many ways and open to correction and criticism. Thank you for participating.

  3. chebandbecky says:

    We use my iPod for when my daughter goes for her Botox injections. No, not the cosmetic ones, the ones for spasticity (muscle tightness). It helps distract her (and me) through the many, painful injections. Thankful for technology. Cheryl

  4. We have a great big issue with internet access in the TGH.The staff isn’t supposed to use social sites so they log onto the visitor/patient access to be able to do that.Also,everybody else walking around during working hours (doctors,porters,nurses,researchers,you name it) also log their phones onto the visitor/patient access.As a result,if you are a legitimate patient trying to use the internet during the day,forget about it.The server can handle only so many people logged on.After 4 or so,no problem.And they ripped out the phone jacks during ‘renovation’ in the unit so you can’t use dial-up,either.

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