A few days back, I completed ten years of home hemodialysis. When I look back at that time, I think I was quite brave to take this modality up. There were barely a handful of people in India doing home hemo and no one that I had come across was doing daily nocturnal home hemo - the modality I was planning to adopt. If the circumstances of that time faced me today, I doubt if I would ever take that up.
Today, after ten years of taking the plunge, I can safely say that I am alive today only because of this modality. Yes, there are many on regular, thrice a week hospital-based dialysis who have been on dialysis for longer than I have been. However, one major difference between them and me is the level of 'compliance'. Now, that's not my favourite word in the dictionary but it is true - I am an extremely non-compliant patient when it comes to diet and fluid.
My weight gain between sessions (with daily dialysis) is at the very least 2.5 litres and at times goes to 4 litres. Even with daily dialysis, I have developed heart issues. I am pretty certain my heart would not have tolerated those large weight gains on regular thrice-weekly dialysis. Or I would have had to restrict myself so much that I would not have found life worth living any more.
I absolutely need to thank some people for enabling me to opt for this modality.
First and foremost, my nephrologist at the time, Dr. Girish Narayen. He was the one who told me about this modality. Only after he mentioned this, did I get onto the internet looking for more information and start the whole process. If he would not have told me about it and sowed the seed, I would never have even begun.
What can I say about Jayaram Reddy? I knew Jayaram from KIMS Hospital where I was undergoing hemodialysis at that time. Jayaram, to me was nothing short of superman! He was an expert cannulator. He could handle emergencies that happened in the dialysis centre expertly. He also was tremendously confident in his own abilities. I remember asking him if he would come home and do my dialysis. He readily agreed. Again, if it wasn't for Jayaram, I would never have dared to actually get started.
My parents played a huge role in supporting me. Without their encouragement and continuous help, this would not have happened. Right from coming with me to Mumbai and visiting people who were doing hemodialysis at home to arranging the funds to buy the machine and RO plant at home to actually supervising the entire setup, they have been there at every stage of this decade.
A lot of what I have done in my life today is thanks to daily nocturnal home hemodialysis. And I intend to go on for much longer!