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...everything you need to know about doing dialysis at home.
Eight years ago, in mid-1996, Mary Ann had to make a decision. Her kidneys were failing as a result of glomerulonephritis, and she needed to start dialysis. Mary Ann considered her options—and chose continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD).
“Mostly, I chose PD because I worked,” says Mary Ann. CCPD allowed Mary Ann to do her PD exchanges at night, and left her days free to work full-time. “I thought about doing hemodialysis at the dialysis center,” she says, “but the people looked so wiped out after their dialysis. Plus, I didn’t have the time to go in there 3 times a week. I’ve got work to do!” The dialysis needles were a factor, too. “I didn’t want to deal with that,” she says. For Mary Ann, CCPD made sense.
Although Mary Ann is retired now, she worked for 7 years while on CCPD. “I hooked up to my Baxter HomeChoice™ cycler for 8 hours every night,” she says, “and I did one manual exchange at work every day.” As a human resources specialist for the Post Office, Mary Ann got permission to use a small office for her mid-day exchange. “There really wasn’t much to it,” says Mary Ann. “I just made sure things weren’t dusty in there, and I always washed my hands and masked,” says Mary Ann. “Everybody at work got used to it.” Even after retirement, Mary Ann continues to work. “I just started a new career in financial services,” she says. “It gets me out of the house and talking to people.” Because she does CCPD at night, Mary Ann has the freedom to make appointments at her convenience.
Both Mary Ann and her husband were trained to do peritoneal dialysis years ago. “I do it all on my own now,” she says. “It’s really simple once you learn how.” Mary Ann remembers the training as thorough, and recalls how her training nurse helped her get used to the cycler and her dietitian helped her make good food choices.
“There were a few rough spots at first,” she admits, “and I had to get used to the feeling of having the fluid inside.” Now, however dialysis has become routine. “It’s like a part of you,” says Mary Ann. “I can tell when I need an extra exchange, and I know how to use the different solutions to take off more water.” Mary Ann and her husband hardly even notice the night-time hum of the cycler anymore!
Mary Ann is still happy with her choice of CCPD. “I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t choose peritoneal dialysis,” she says. She thinks it is a choice that is easy to live with. Mary Ann feels good and finds that her diet and fluid limits are easy to manage. The only medications she needs are vitamins and phosphate binders. And, best of all, she has the freedom to travel. “If you go on peritoneal dialysis, you can do anything,” she says. She’s been on cruises, and done lots of U.S. travel. In September of 2004, she’s planning a trip to Mexico.
Mary Ann likes her CCPD so well that she has decided NOT to put her name on the transplant list. Why? “What would be different?” she asks. “I’d still have to take medications. The only thing I wouldn’t have is the boxes of dialysate crowding my living room,” she laughs.
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