A woman is wrapped in a blanket while sitting on a giant dialysis bag. There is a heart made out of the tubing.

How I Manage Dialysis At Home

For those of you that have my read previous articles or follow me and my journey on instagram, you may know that I started peritoneal dialysis at the end of November.

Since I was born with chronic kidney disease (CKD), I knew that this was coming for the longest time. But now that it's happening, it feels surreal.

Before starting dialysis

Initially doing peritoneal dialysis was something I feared. The thought of having to do it, literally made me breakdown in tears. I was terrified of the idea and the fact I would need a machine to help keep me alive. Looking from the outside into dialysis, it just looked horrible to me.

The closer the time came, the more my anxiety grew. I was building it up in my mind to be a huge change. Many people I spoke to in regards to dialysis said it wasn't that bad and it seems worse than it actually is.

What dialysis is like

I'm currently 1-2 weeks into dialysis and it's true - the idea of dialysis is actually worse than doing it. I'm not sure if that is because once you're doing it, you don't really have any option but to accept it, or if it really is not as bad as I thought.

Don't get me wrong, it's still a massive lifestyle adjustment, you need to work out your timing, clean environment, and all of the dialysis equipment. The nurses here in Australia are what feel like on standby for if you need any help whatsoever. They have been a massive contribution to me feeling comfortable in managing my own dialysis at home as they are happy to help day and night with any question.

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There is a lot of rubbish that comes along with dialysis, it feels like a never ending load of washing. I try to make sure that I am on top of all of the rubbish so that it doesn't build up and make me feel stressed. Purchasing rubbish bins to put in my room came in handy therefore, I can chuck it away straight away rather than worrying about it later. I also bought some small drawers to organize all the extra equipment such as mini caps, shower plasters, antibacterial cream, and cotton buds. Therefore, everything is in one spot and easy to grab.

Practice makes perfect

I was told to do dialysis for 4-6 hours and then drain the fluid out. I try to do it for 5 hours which leaves me with extra time either way in case I have a change of plans throughout my day.

Lastly, to help me manage dialysis, I would meditate. I found some days all of this was super overwhelming therefore, finding time to manage my mind helps a lot.

When you have to do dialysis multiple times every single day, you do pick it up relatively quickly. I also try to maintain a level of cleanliness each time as it is super easy to start cutting corners, which I have done ALREADY. But I'm making efforts to get on top of it.

Like anything, practice makes perfect. Physically it will become easier and routine like. Mentally it made me quite stressed, but it did get easier with time.

This or That

In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?

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