|See also article by Greta:|
Despite knowing from the age of 21 that my kidneys could fail it was still devastating when, at the age of 42 and with 2 young children, I was told that I would be on dialysis within a year - particularly when not many months previously I had been given a much more favourable prognosis.
In August 1998, my kidneys finally failed. I had deteriorated very suddenly and I felt so awful and so ill that the news that I would have to go on dialysis was almost welcome, as surely I would feel better on dialysis. Within days I was on the Renal Ward that I came to know so well to have the once dreaded catheter put in.
For me, the decision to have CAPD as opposed to Haemodialysis was an easy one. I had read that the whole procedure is easier on the entire body than haemo and also you are not restricted in your life by having to visit the hospital three times a week for at least 4 hours a time. I liked the idea of being, to some extent, independent. I had also seen haemodialysis patients when I visited the clinic. They all looked so ill and I did not want to be that ill. I considered that I only had renal failure, I wasn’t ill.
The kindness and support that I was given in the CAPD clinic during my training for the Peritoneal Dialysis was amazing. I wonder if these people know the difference they make. It wasn’t too easy at first, but I was told that I was one of their best patients (I am convinced they say that to everyone) and I was duly very proud of myself. After about a week I was shown how to do it myself at home and I began the peritoneal dialysis routine.
It wasn’t too bad. Firstly, you have to accept it as an inevitability and then get on with it. It took about half an hour each exchange and I had to do four of them a day. It sounds a lot but the timing is fairly flexible. My stomach was slightly distended but, since I had lost a considerable amount of weight and had never been blessed with great stomach muscles anyway, no-one was aware that I was carrying anything like the 2 litres in my peritoneum. I carried on injecting the EPO and, although I had to rely on my husband for more things than I would have wanted to, life really wasn’t too bad. We even got a rates rebate for all the dialysis fluid that I had to store! A useful bit of information I got from the NKF!
This article by Greta is an extract from a fuller version she wrote for the Perceptions series on this website. Click here to read it.
To find out more about CAPD, click here.
The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.