Updated January 26, 2005

What everyone should know about Peritoneal Dialysis

Bryan J. Rollins

First, a little about me: I'm a 33 year old renal patient with MPGN-1, who received a living related transplant from my cousin Diane on December 21, 2004. Dr. LaFuente of Methodist Hospital inserted my PD catheter during April of 2004, and started peritoneal dialysis the first week of May 2004. I had the catheter removed a week after the transplant on December 28, 2004.

While I highly, highly recommend peritoneal dialysis compared with hemo dialysis (which I will admit I have not experienced). However, there are several things that I wish I had known about peritoneal dialysis that would have made the transition much easier. This is an attempt to share those things with people who are considering or about to start peritoneal dialysis.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a nurse. Before you take any of my advice, please consult your PD nurse or your nephrologist. The following is only my experience and may not match what you require for proper treatment.

This is written assuming some basic knowledge of PD: You have a catheter implanted surgically, fluid exchange in the peritoneal cavity is what provides the dialysis, etc.

1. Facts I didn't know before 2. Self Image

This was probably the hardest part for me personally. Maybe I'm vain with my highlighted hair and fake glasses, but I think everyone cares about how they look and mostly how they feel when they look in the mirror. Being a single male who dates a frequent amount, this was troublesome.

3. Travel

I'm not going to go into detail here, other than to say that "travel is possible" but travel is exceptional cumbersome, especialy if you are a business traveller accustomed to never checking bags and spending as little time dealing with logistics as possible. I could write a book about just this subject alone. Of course, only about two people would read it, and one of them would be my Mom.

4. Pain

I was told that PD was not painful, though some men experience "some discomfort" when they first start PD because of certain male nerves in the area of the catheter. The first time they did an exchange, it felt like someone quite large was standing on my testicles. The nurse thought I was having a seisure - I couldn't talk, I couldn't see straight, and I was foaming at the mouth. I've been told this is VERY VERY VERY rare. So, I guess, lucky me. The process is still a little painful for me but nothing like it was the first time.

5. Bed time

6. Managing shipments

7. Exercise

8. Misc

Why It's Great

So despite all the above, I am happy with my choice. It's keeping me alive and healthy. Questions? Feel free to contact me.