A person wearing a mask sits on the side of their bed preparing supplies for Peritoneal Dialysis.

My Experience With Peritoneal Dialysis (PD)

Last updated: September 2023

I’ve been on peritoneal dialysis, or PD, for almost a year now, and it has been a learning experience. In the beginning, I felt like I would have to completely alter my life to make PD work for me.

PD was so overwhelming

When I first started PD, it all seemed so over whelming. In the beginning, I would just think about doing PD all day at work. I felt like the only thing I could do was dialysis. I was down on myself and I felt trapped.

I would go to work, come home and watch the clock until it was time to get started. Eight and a half hours hooked up to machine, plus forty-five minutes or more to set up. I was unable to leave my bedroom while doing treatments. The whole process felt very restrictive. What if I get thirsty, what if I want a late-night snack? I was so concerned about being tethered to a machine, that I thought about buying a mini-fridge and microwave just in case.

I started to overthink the process and just wanted my whole house in my bedroom. At the time, my wife and children really stepped up and made sure I didn’t feel trapped in a room. Their help made all the difference.

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Finally, things started to improve

When I first started PD at home, it did not go very smooth at first. Learning to sleep with a cycler hooked was the first challenge. Walking around a room with lines on the floor was very scary at first. I didn’t want to trip on one or get it snagged on something. Even though the cycler is relatively quiet, it still makes some noise and it would wake me up. My sleeping position would cause the machine to not drain and fill properly, which then causes the machine to beep.

Making sure I didn’t damage my catheter also was a major concern. The catheters are very durable but in the beginning, I felt like I was going to tear it in half. Then there is fill/drain pain which is unpleasant to say the least.

After the first few weeks of at-home PD, I was miserable using the cycler. I thought about switching to hemodialysis dialysis. Little by little though, it started to become easier to deal with. Then one day it all came together, no pain, no alarms, and a good night’s sleep. There were still some bumps in the road, but I was having more good nights than bad, and that’s all I wanted.

As I became more experienced, it got easier

As I became more experienced and comfortable with my situation, the whole process became so much easier to adjust to. There’s are no short cuts to your treatment times but learning more efficient ways to get through the day makes all the difference. I do treatments seven days a week, so using my time efficiently is very important. Where supplies are stored or even where you dispose of used supplies can add additional time to the whole process.

PD requires some time management but with some practice and experience its became a lot less challenging then I had ever thought. PD is definably a lifestyle change but I feel like I can do anything I want and that makes me happy.

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