Diagnosed with kidney failure five years ago, Jim Smith started dialysis at a medical center four hours a day, three times a week.
But his patience lasted just two weeks before he gave up. Instead, he found an alternative dialysis method that would allow him to get his treatment at home and on the road.
“I didn’t want to do it their way. I wanted to do it my way,” Smith said. “It’s Frank Sinatra, I do it my way.”
Ineligible for a transplant, Smith has been conducting dialysis on his own ever since. Now the Seattle resident travels around the country with his wife and dog in a recreational vehicle equipped with a dialysis machine to encourage other kidney patients to make the switch as well.
Last week, he stopped at Victorville’s Desert Cities Dialysis, which partners with Massachusetts-based NxStage Medical Inc. to provide local patients with the home-therapy option. The local medical center has six patients who went through training to achieve more flexible and less exhausting therapy compared to in-center dialysis.
Kidneys work as a filter to rid the body of waste and fluids. Most of the 400,000 Americans with failing kidneys stay alive by going to a dialysis clinic to get their blood purified by a machine. But a major study published in the New England Journal of Medicine released last year indicated that a conventional three-times-a-week treatment may not be enough. Most home dialysis patients get on a machine once a day at their convenience.
“Home dialysis gives you more freedom to do things. It fit my lifestyle better,” said Richard Murellson, a Victorville resident who became the first home-therapy patient at Desert Cities Dialysis in August. ~RBT.com~