The comforts of home. Treatment times that fit her work schedule. Getting lots of dialysis. Feeling good. For all of these reasons, Carol chose home hemodialysis (HD). “It’s a totally different experience than in-center dialysis,” says Carol. “I would recommend it to anyone!”
Finding A Way
Diagnosed with kidney disease at age 12, Carol faced the prospect of dialysis for a long time. “My doctors told me to learn all I could about dialysis,” says Carol. “Once I did, I knew that I wanted to do my treatment at home.”
When her second transplant failed, Carol started planning for home HD. First, she had to find a center that would accept and train a home patient. The closest one she could find was a 2-hour drive from her home in Omaha, NE. Carol took time off from her job and spent 2 months driving to Sioux City, IA, 3 days a week for training and treatments. “It was inconvenient,” admits Carol, “but now I will never have to take another day off of work because of dialysis.”
In the years since she began home HD, Carol has been under the care of four dialysis centers. She now lives in Los Angeles, CA, and her center in nearby Glendale offers NxStage, which fits her lifestyle best. (For her first 10+ years on home HD, Carol used a Fresenius 2008H machine.)
Training And Set-Up
“Doing your own dialysis is kind of scary when you start,” says Carol, “but once you’re trained, it’s easy.” To help recall all of the steps during her first few months, Carol, who designs processes for a living, made flow charts and checklists. She also had home visits from a home health care nurse. Now, Carol is fully comfortable with the HD treatments. She feels able to handle any challenge, and has been in two earthquakes during treatment with no problems.
Comfortable And Customized
For Carol, the benefits of home HD make all the effort worthwhile. She has her machine in a spare bedroom used just for dialysis. There is a dresser with drawers for smaller supplies such as syringes and needles. Larger items go in the closet. She has a cordless phone, a TV with a DVD player, and a computer next to her machine. “I can talk on the phone, pay bills, watch TV or a movie, work, have friends over to visit, and do whatever I want while I dialyze.” The room has lots of art and photos to make it cozy.
“I don’t use a dialysis chair; I have a bed with lots of pillows and blankets,” says Carol. “I can sit, lie down, and move around so my back doesn’t get stiff. I can set the room temperature just right, and order the masks and gloves I like. It’s all set up just for me!”
Carol does her home HD five evenings a week. She works full-time as a health care administrator for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “Start to finish, it takes about 4 1/2 hours total for set-up, treatment, and clean-up.” A night owl, Carol doesn’t mind staying up late to do HD. She usually works late and then comes home to do dialysis, relax, and watch her favorite late night TV.
Having treatments five times a week gives Carol lots of dialysis each week. As a result, she feels good, and has no diet and fluid limits. “It makes my life more normal,” she says. She can go out to eat and loves to cook for friends at home. In fact, cooking is one of her passions, and as a community volunteer she has helped write and edit three award-winning cookbooks.
“I have been taking care of myself for 37 years,” Carol says, “and along the way I have made choices that made it possible for me to have a good life.” What choices? A good education. A desk job that is not strenuous and has a great health plan and other benefits, like a flexible schedule. A dialysis option that lets her work full time, and even travel. With NxStage, Carol travels often, just packing the machine and supplies in her car or taking it to the airport. All in all, Carol says, “the choices I’ve made let me be in charge of my life!”
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In partnership with MEI, ReMend is hosting MEI’s Home Dialysis Education Modules on our site. In addition we will also host patient articles that we think as a potential dialysis patient will be beneficial in showing you how other people just like you have chosen the best Home Dialysis Treatment Option for themselves. These articles will provide inspiration for how you go about choosing the right treatment option that fits your needs and lifestyle values. But you are not alone in this endeavor, there are many resources to assist you in the process.
ReMend mentors, many of whom have been on home dialysis and in some cases are still on home dialysis are available to assist you in this process. We do not provide medical advice, that is left up to the Doctor’s and Nurses’ that provide your medical support. What ReMend Mentor’s can provide is our own personal experience on how we went about choosing our dialysis treatment option. The issues and obstacles we faced and overcame in our successful journey in living with kidney disease and dialysis. Most of ReMend’s Mentors have successfully undergone transplantation.
How to request a meeting with a ReMend Mentor to assist you on the path to choosing the right Dialysis Treatment option is easy, contact us by phone or email or via your BNMG medical provider.