Why we're lucky

Sometimes I have wondered over the last 12 years whether home hemo was worth it. There are a lot of problems and it does wear on my husband, who is my technician.

Today, I was at the access center for a fistulagram. So many of the patients, who are in clinics, told me how lucky I was to be doing treatments at home. They all wished they could do the same, but didn’t have spouses to help.

I do believe that we are lucky people. We are at the top of the chain when it comes to hemodialysis. The ability to dialyze at home, frequently, is what is keeping us alive and healthy. Dialysis in a clinic three times a week keeps you from dying, but it doesn’t extend your life or improve your health.

Very true, MMiller! Do you mind if I ask you how much of your treatments your husband does, vs. you? What was the training philosophy of your clinic, as far as who did which tasks? Did they encourage you to be as self-sufficient as you can be, or did they assume that your husband would become, as you say, your “technician”? Do you have other illnesses or disabilities that keep you from doing more? I’m just asking because the US is the only country that requires a care partner for home HD. Most other countries not only don’t require one, but in some cases refuse to train one! I know a number of folks in the US who self-dialyze with home HD, and suspect that some clinics may be making people more dependent than they really need to be. There is a continuum of care partner involvement in home HD, from 0% (no care partner) to 100% (someone who requires total care–including home HD), and folks can fall anywhere along it–and where they fall can change over time. But, it would help me to know your situation and what you were taught, if you don’t mind sharing.