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Bill currently self-dialyzes at home five nights a week for 7-8 hours while he sleeps, using the NxStage System One. This is his most recent dialysis choice; prior to switching to nocturnal home hemodialysis in 2007, Bill had dialyzed at home in the evenings for 3-3.5 hours, five or six nights a week, since September 2001.
When Bill first did home hemo, he used a B.Braun Dialog machine with assistance from a helper (a college friend who helped in exchange for rent). In August 2002, when the Aksys PHD dialysis machine received FDA approval for home use, Bill trained and became a self-dialyzor, taking full responsibility for every aspect of his treatment. In August 2006, Bill trained to use the NxStage System One. From August 2006 to January 2007, he traveled with the NxStage System One and dialyzed at home with the Aksys PHD. In January 2007, he began using the NxStage System One full-time. Self-dialyzing at home, alone, overnight is the latest stop on a journey with chronic kidney disease (CKD) that spans more than 20 years.
Bill earned dual BS degrees in Accounting and Business/Marketing in 1985 at Central Washington University. Just after graduation, he was diagnosed with CKD. Motivated by the knowledge that he would be facing major health issues, Bill made plans for a six-month around-the-world adventure. He departed in January 1987, and returned just two months later via medical evacuation from Thailand. After recovering, he worked as a VISTA volunteer, training people to teach adults to read. By spring 1988 he was too sick to work, and in July 1988 he received a kidney from his older brother. Bill re-entered the working world in 1989 when he bought a yacht brokerage company.
In 1990, the transplanted kidney failed and Bill started dialysis. Within months, he realized that indulging his wanderlust (he considers it a “comorbidity”) would allow escape from his dialysis routine, both literally and figuratively. In 1991, he began combining visitor hemodialysis with travel throughout the United States. In 1995, with insurance gained from work, Bill began exploring the wider world again. Starting in the spring of 1995 with 23 days in Costa Rica, Bill took trips across the globe each year. His longest was a 3-month trip in 1999 that included African safaris and five weeks in the Australian tropics.
1995 is also the year Bill became aware of the Internet, and he began frequenting an early Internet cafe called the Speakeasy, on 2nd Avenue in downtown Seattle. With the increased availability of Internet access while traveling, Bill became a correspondent, bringing travelogues and photos of his foreign dialysis adventures to the dialysis community through posting to early Internet resources, including the Dialysis_Support listserv and Globaldialysis.com. In 1997, Nephrology News & Issues published his first magazine article, an account of a two-month 1996 European tour. Other articles followed as his travels continued. To date, Bill has dialyzed in 21 countries on five continents (and the list is still growing).
Bill’s service to the dialysis community has grown over the past decade since he joined the board of trustees of his dialysis provider, Northwest Kidney Centers (NKC), in December 1997. Also in 1997, he joined the board of the Northwest Kidney Centers Foundation, which raises community support to advance NKC’s mission (“to promote the optimal health, quality of life and independence of people with kidney disease, through patient care, education and research”). In addition to his volunteer board duties, Bill is involved with the kidney community on many levels: as a Dialysis Facility Compare CMS Technical Expert Panel member, providing guidance for a CMS review of the Conditions for Coverage survey, participating in the KCER Coalition, speaking at industry events, authoring articles, consulting with industry, and initiating web interactions. Now, with his blog “Dialysis from the Sharp End of the Needle”, Bill continues to pursue his passion for improving dialysis care both for himself and others, through knowledge, research, and best practices.
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