- Treatment Type
- Peritoneal Dialysis
- Marital Status
- Work Status
- High BP
- Poor Vision
Kelvin is the father of two young daughters. Thanks to peritoneal dialysis (PD), he can schedule his treatments around what he needs to do—not the other way around.
Kidney failure at 33
The double whammy of diabetes and high blood pressure caused so much damage to Kelvin's kidneys that he had just 12% function left at 33. At that point, his doctor told him he needed dialysis. "At first part of me that wanted to think 'maybe it's really something else,'" Kelvin recalls. But, he came to terms with his kidney failure 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 have a full life was important to Kelvin. So, his doctor suggested PD. At first Kelvin was concerned about doing his 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 all right and I decided to give it a try," Kelvin recalled.
Kelvin had a PD catheter put in. Once it healed, 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 observed.
When he started PD, Kelvin worked as a materials handler in a manufacturing plant. The job required him to be able to lift 50+ pounds—and run a forklift with levers and 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 job was not a good fit for someone on dialysis."
Kelvin does stay active by walking, playing basketball, and keeping up with his girls. "We go to the park a lot," he declared. "And, my 5-year-old is like the Energizer bunny!" Since his days are free, Kelvin can attend his older daughter's track meets and other school events.
PD gives Kelvin the freedom to travel. He and his wife are planning a trip to Disney World to celebrate their first 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.
Managing at home
Kelvin starts his nightly PD treatments any time 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 belly for 3 hours while he does what he wants to do, and drains manually at about 9 am. "I'm an early bird," Kelvin admitted, "so this 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. His wife knows how to run the PD cycler, but Kelvin handles all the set-up, clean-up and PD 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 pills any more 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."