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...everything you need to know about doing dialysis at home.
Kelvin, 35 years old, is the father of two young daughters. Thanks to CCPD, he can schedule his dialysis around what he needs to do—not the other way around.
The combination of diabetes and high blood pressure caused so much damage to Kelvin’s kidneys that he only had 12% function left at the age of 33. At that point, his doctor told him he needed dialysis. “At first there was part of me that wanted to think ‘maybe it’s really something else,’” Kelvin remembered. But, he accepted his diagnosis and began to plan for the future. “I decided I could still have a life,” he said.
Having a flexible schedule and enough energy to manage his responsibilities was important to Kelvin, so his doctor recommended peritoneal dialysis (PD). At first Kelvin was concerned about doing dialysis treatments at home. “You hear myths and rumors about dialysis from people, you know? And, they make you worry. But, the nurses told me I’d be alright and I decided to give it a try,” Kelvin recalled.
Kelvin had a PD catheter put in and began training in May 2008. He spent about a week and a half learning how to use the PD cycler and do a safe manual exchange. His wife Genisha trained with him. “The nurses (at Fresenius Medical Care Freedom Dialysis Center in Florence, SC) did an excellent job of answering all my questions, especially when I first started my home training,” Kelvin reported.
At the time he started dialysis, Kelvin was employed as a materials handler in a manufacturing plant. The job requires the ability to lift 50+ pounds and operate a forklift with levers/knobs that might catch on his catheter. So, Kelvin was not able to keep his job. “I feel able to work,” he said, “but my particular job was not a good option for someone on dialysis.”
Kelvin does stay active, however, by walking, playing basketball, and keeping up with his girls. “We go to the park a lot,” he explained. “And, my 5-year-old is like the Energizer bunny.” Because his days are free, Kelvin also can attend his older daughter’s track meets and other school events.
PD also gives Kelvin the freedom to travel. He and his wife are planning a trip to Disney World to celebrate their one-year anniversary. “When we went there for our honeymoon last year, I just packed my supplies in the car and we took off,” he said. “There was enough room in the hotel room for my supplies, and I could do my treatments with no problem. We walked all over, and I felt great!’ he added.
Kelvin starts his nightly dialysis treatments anytime between 8 pm and 10 pm, depending on his schedule that day. While he sleeps, the cycler goes through 3 complete fill/drain exchanges. Kelvin likes to get up early, between 5 am and 6 am, so he disconnects after the 4th fill cycle. He leaves the fluid in his abdomen for 3 hours while he does what he wants to do, and drains manually about 9 am. “I’m an early bird,” Kelvin admitted, “so this system works for me. And I can still be dialyzing while I’m up and around.”
Kelvin does not do any daytime exchanges, or keep fluid in during the day. Although his wife knows how to operate the PD cycler, Kelvin handles all the set-up, clean-up and dialysis duties himself. “She’s behind me 100%,” he said, “but I take care of it all.”
Kelvin is enthusiastic about PD and how he feels. “I don’t have to take my blood pressure medications anymore because my pressure is good. I have also been able to eat more of the things I like to eat.”
Kelvin shares his enthusiasm for PD by talking with other people who are thinking about trying it. “If you’re active, PD would help you. You’ve got your freedom. It’s not too hard to do, and it’s not the end of the world. You can still have a life, and be here to see your babies grow up.”
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