Topeka (WIBW) - One of the hardest parts about severe kidney disease is needing to take hours out of the day for dialysis treatments.
Mark Allen has been on dialysis for ten months now, taking four hours, three days a week for treatment. He says it's quite an inconvenience. Plus, he says getting an employer to work with all that time away can be tough.
Although his employer has been understanding, a desire to get back to a more normal life is spurring Mark to make a big change. He and his wife are going through training at Kansas Dialysis Services so they can do his dialysis at home.
Dr. Scott Solcher of Kansas Dialysis Services says dialysis uses machines to remove toxins from the blood when a person's kidneys can't do it for them.
He says people who are able to do home dialysis tend to do better because, instead of getting those toxins out only two or three times a week with in-center treatments. home dialysis allows patients shorter, more frequent treatments.
Solcher says more frequent treatments mean avoiding up and down toxin levels, making the treatments more gentle.
Alonda Udell knows that first hand. She says she would get sick and very drained following the in-center treatments she used to receive. She also had a lot of problem with retaining water between her two-day-a-week session.
Alonda swtiched to at-home hemodialysis. She does the treatments five or six days a week. Her husband is her partner for the sessions, which they do whenever convenient, either after dinner or before bed or in the morning before work.
Not only is it more flexible, Alonda also says she feels so much better, her sick time from work is almost zero and she is taking a lot less medication.
But with all the training and equipment, it is a commitment. Solcher says the entire prospect can be scary for some people. Plus, he says it's important to have support at home, so they can be safe. The partner can call for help if needed and spot any potential problems.
Still, studies show those who go the home route are in the hospital less and are able to reduce their medications, like Alonda has experienced.
Alonda says people tell her she looks healthy now and she feels like she has her life back.
Mark hopes he'll soon be able to say the same.
Home dialysis carries a risk of infection. Patients should talk to their nephrologist to see if it's right for them.
Tour de Dialysis
Dr. Scott Solcher and Kansas Dialysis CEO Stan Langhofer are doing a 100 mile bike ride, Oct. 16, 2009. Money raised will go to the KDS Patient Assistance Fund, helping dialysis patients with treatment expenses such as food, clothing, medicine, transportation and shelter.
Make a pledge to their cause by calling 785-234-2277.