August 14, 2008
With summer winding to a close, people everywhere are soaking up the last rays and cooling off in the nearest body of water. If you are on peritoneal dialysis (PD), you may have heard that you can’t swim because of your catheter. However, this myth, like most, is not always true. People on PD who have a healed catheter exit site may be able to enjoy a little splishing and splashing, as long as they do it with care.
Here are some general tips for swimming with a PD catheter:
Swim only in private, chlorinated pools or the ocean. Private, chlorinated pools and the ocean are the cleanest places to swim in order to avoid an exit site infection. In fact, the ocean water has been said to be beneficial to the exit site.
Avoid swimming in fresh water rivers, ponds, streams or hot tubs. Bodies of fresh water and hot tubs harbor bacteria that could cause an infection so these should be avoided.
Remove your catheter dressings before swimming. Catheter dressings should always be kept dry and should be removed before swimming, showering or any other water activities.
Use something to cover your catheter if your doctor tells you to. Some doctors may recommend covering your catheter with something while you swim, such as an ostomy covering, the bag that people with colostomies wear.
Wash your exit site with water and liquid antibacterial soap after swimming. Follow your doctor’s orders for cleaning your exit site after you swim to help keep your catheter and exit site healthy.
Talk with your doctor and PD nurse before going for a swim to make sure your exit site is fully healed and it’s okay for you to get in the water. If your healthcare team approves, go for a dip and have some fun in the sun.
July 15, 2008
Allan Patrick A. Lubiano is a peritoneal dialysis patient in Daly City, CA. This is his story.
“Franklin Roosevelt once said, ‘When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.’ Twenty years ago, I thought I was on the end of my rope. I was 15 years old back then and was diagnosed with end stage renal disease (ESRD). Having just started high school, I thought my life would be completely altered. It wasn’t altered. I just made a slight detour in the road of life. Since then, I have had two failed transplants and three stints with peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis. Along the way, I had so many medical procedures that I lost track, but I never lost focus of my goal of living a full life.
My second transplant ended at quite the unfortunate time. I was in my last year in college, pursuing a double major in Computers Information Systems and International Business and on track to graduate with honors. I was readying myself to transition seamlessly to the professional world. I had my dreams and I was ready to fulfill them. Then, all of a sudden, after suffering pneumonia, I lost my transplanted kidney after only three years. I was devastated at first, but after looking at the shattered pieces of my life, I refused to allow my illness to sidetrack me from fulfilling my goals and decided to go back to peritoneal dialysis.
After taking a semester off, I continued my studies and eventually graduated from college with honors. I then proceeded to become a part of a management training program. I am currently working full time and supervising a team consisting of 50 employees. I refuse to be a burden to anyone, financial or otherwise.
I am also very active in the church community, serving as a member of the Holy Spirit Choir and as a leader of the young adult ministry. I am also an active partner with Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine-based anti-poverty movement launched in 2001 by Couples for Christ to care for worse-off Filipinos and survivors of natural disasters. To date, through several fundraising events, we have raised enough funds to sponsor a village, which can provide housing for 30 impoverished families. But Gawad Kalinga is about more than building houses for the poorest of the poor, it is the empowerment and upliftment of society’s chronically disadvantaged.
Next year, I am marrying my fiancé, Nerissa, and God willing, I will raise a family of my own.
Yes, I was dealt a bad hand when I was stricken with ESRD, but with the help of God and peritoneal dialysis, I played the hand that I was dealt and was able to rise above and live a full and meaningful life. The flexibility it afforded me also provided me the freedom to explore what life has in store. But with the help of my family and my PD caregivers, I am not done yet. Indeed, PD is the knot that made me hang on. But it is also the strong knot that allowed me to lengthen the rope of life and to see the exciting beauty that it has in store.”
June 19, 2008
Katy Mills is a transplant recipient living in St. Louis, MO. Before receiving her transplant on January 28, 2008, Katy was on peritoneal dialysis. This is her story.
“Hi, my name is Katy, and I have a suspicion my story may be familiar. I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in the early 1990s. I immediately assumed I was the one who would beat the odds and never need dialysis or a transplant.
By 2006, my kidneys were functioning at about ten percent and I had no energy whatsoever. I felt ‘stuck in neutral.’ Of course, I totally disregarded the fact that my doctor kept telling me how ‘puffy’ I looked. Then, the day after President’s Day in 2006, I just stopped urinating. Oops! That won me a trip to the hospital. I got a reprieve when they sent me home urinating, a little. However, they also sent me to DaVita to learn about my dialysis treatment options, and I chose peritoneal dialysis. I still didn’t quite get it. I informed them that I might see them in June.
Wrong again! Two weeks later, in March, I was back in the hospital with end stage renal disease. YIKES! Somehow it was easier to talk about that catheter this time. Good thing this time I didn’t get out of the hospital until I had a catheter. Unfortunately, I chose that this would be the end of my teaching career in a public elementary school. But it was also the start of a period of time when I actually felt better than I have in years. Would I prefer to have functional kidneys? You bet! But, if the alternative is dialysis or dying, this is okay for me. I’m doing things I haven’t had time for in years, and I have the energy to do them.”
June 9, 2008
Feel like chatting about your PD cycler? Need advice on self-cannulation? Want to learn about the best self-help books on the market? Looking to share ideas and make friends with some like-minded people? Check out the DaVita Discussion Forums.
Connect with others who are going through the same things you are on the DaVita Discussion Forums! The DaVita Discussion Forums are a place where patients, care partners, family and friends can chat about anything and everything. Forum topics range from diet to care giver issues, exercise to travel. Don’t see any threads that interest you? Start your own! And join the discussion today!
May 29, 2008
It’s that time of year again! The National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF) Kidney Walk is here. The Kidney Walk is a fun, active way for people with chronic kidney disease, family members, transplant recipients, donors, donor families, friends, doctors, nurses and anyone who is interested to help raise money and awareness for kidney and urinary tract diseases. Walks will be held all over the country from now until early November. Signing up is easy and can be done online. So, if you’re interested, grab your walking shoes and get moving for kidney disease!
Learn more about the NKF’s Kidney Walk or find a walk near you!
May 15, 2008
Katie Siesennop is a transplant recipient living in Troy, MO. Before receiving her transplant in December 2007, Katie was on peritoneal dialysis. This is her story.
“I had a kidney transplant in September 1998. In 2005, my blood pressure kept rising and nobody knew why. A biopsy in August determined a virus had attacked the kidney, and I had to start dialysis. The doctors put me on hemodialysis but my blood pressure remained high. In September, it rose so high I had a seizure and the kidney was removed. Each time I visited the doctor, a new blood pressure medicine was added until I was taking five of them. Almost every time I was taken off the machine, I had to sit and wait for the blood pressure to come down before I could leave to go home.
I had heard of peritoneal dialysis. I was told I wouldn’t have to come to the center three days per week for four hours at a time, but I was scared and didn’t want to have more surgery. Eight months later a guy my age came into my hemodialysis unit, but he was switching to peritoneal dialysis (PD) and it struck me, ‘Hey, if this guy can do it, so can I.’ I talked to my doctor, and he was worried because I don’t have a kidney. He wasn’t sure it would work for me.
A month later, I began PD. I no longer had to worry about finding a ride to my treatments, being home on time when my son got off the bus or hearing talk of putting the line in my arm. Not long after, my days were free, and my treatments were done by machine while I slept. What’s better is that my blood pressure was 110/70, and I only took one medicine.
PD also made going on vacation easier. The PD supply company delivered my dialysis solution to the hotel before I arrived. I brought my machine. My nurse contacted a center nearby in case I had a problem, and I had the freedom to see the sights all day.”
May 9, 2008
Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you I’m horrible at making decisions. Whether I’m deciding on a new breakfast cereal or a new car, decisions have never come easy to me so I can only imagine how hard it would be to decide on something as monumental as a dialysis treatment!
If you’re having trouble deciding which dialysis treatment is right for you, DaVita has developed a tool that can help. The Treatment Evaluator is a tool designed to help you figure out which dialysis treatment best fits your lifestyle. The evaluator tool asks you 18 questions about your lifestyle and suggests some modalities that may be right for you.
Try out the Treatment Evaluator today!
April 29, 2008
Britain’s Bill Armstrong, 71, is proving that you’re never too old to consider donating a kidney. When his wife’s kidneys were damaged from years of taking antidepressants, Bill realized he could help her by donating one of his kidneys. Testing found that he was a good match, and six months later, the operation took place.
Read the full news story.
April 24, 2008
The April issue of The Home Dialysis Newsletter went out on Tuesday packed full of useful information for people on home dialysis. This month’s issue features articles about your dialysis lab work and your dialysis choices, as well as useful news and updates about home dialysis. This month’s featured care team member is Nathan Fay, a fun-loving member of the DaVita White Oak at Home team, and this month’s patient story is about David Rosenbloom, a smart and savvy home hemodialysis patient.
If these stories sound interesting to you, sign up now for The Home Dialysis Newsletter and never miss out on another issue! Delivered directly to your email inbox, The Home Dialysis Newsletter is an easy way to stay on top of all the home dialysis news.
Sign up now!
April 3, 2008
Has the springtime got you dreaming about a trip to Paris or Australia or Rome? If so, why not plan a vacation? Home dialysis patients don’t have to restrict their travel to the United States. Traveling abroad is also possible.
People on peritoneal dialysis (PD) can get their supplies delivered abroad to the place where they are visiting. This way, their supplies will be there when they get there. However they should also bring some supplies with them in case of delays during travel.
People on home hemodialysis (HHD) using the portable NxStage machine may have to take some extra time planning if traveling abroad, but it’s still completely possible. Since NxStage doesn’t support the portable NxStage system outside of the lower 48 U.S. states, people who choose to bring their NxStage machine out of the country will be on their own if additional supplies or a swap out of the machine are needed. This shouldn’t stop people on HHD from traveling abroad, though. HHD patients can simply arrange for in-center treatments at dialysis centers where they are traveling. People on HHD that are interested in doing this should talk to their home dialysis nurse who can help them set up the treatments abroad.
One thing that is important to consider when planning a trip abroad is that some insurance companies do not pay for dialysis outside of the U.S. If your insurance provider does not cover treatments abroad, you will need to pay for your hemodialysis treatments or PD supplies on your own. This means that short daily home hemodialysis patients traveling abroad can continue to do short daily treatments in center while on their vacation if they would like, since they will be paying out of pocket for them. The cost for dialysis treatments varies from country to country. Talk to your home dialysis or PD nurse for more information.
Visit www.davita.com/home if you’d like to know more about home dialysis.