11. How long does a peritoneal dialysis treatment take?
Peritoneal dialysis is done every day at night time. The average time is about 8-10 hours, depending on what your doctor prescribes. Some patients may need to have an additional exchange during the day. Since peritoneal dialysis is done every day, patients’ blood pressure is much better. In addition, because peritoneal dialysis is done at home, it can be very time saving for patients. If you are going to travel or miss your dialysis, make sure to call your peritoneal dialysis team and let me know.
12. How long will it take me (or a family member/caregiver) to learn to do the treatment?
This is a very good question. The reality is some people may need more time. The important thing is to not rush. In addition, always call your dialysis team if any questions comes up. Remember, asking question is a good sign. It means you care about doing your treatment in best way. And this will make your dialysis team happy. Do not get frustrated. Frustration will not help you. Establish a good relationship with your peritoneal dialysis team especially the nurses. Make sure you have their 24 hours number handy.
13. What happens to my job? Can I continue to work?
The answer to this question depends to your overall wellbeing. In my experience, peritoneal dialysis patients remain more independent compared to hemodialysis patients. Peritoneal dialysis is done mostly at night time. In addition, your doctor can change the prescription so it can fit your schedule better. Many peritoneal dialysis patients continue to work. Sometimes, hours or duties may need to be changes. Continuing to work helps dialysis patients to retain a better quality of life and have higher self satisfaction. Do not take guilt feeling or be shy at work because your kidneys have failed. This was not your fault. Also, ask around at work and see if any of co-workers is interested to participate in a blessing act of kidney donation. Remember, it does not hurt to ask!
14. Will I qualify for disability?
Once you start peritoneal dialysis, your doctor and peritoneal dialysis team will see you on monthly basis. They will evaluate your health and type of work environment to determine if you can continue your job. If you are unable to work, your social worker will help you determine what benefits you are entitled to and how to apply. Do not fall in the trap of taking a sick patient role. Continuing your job and profession can have many positive psychological benefits in addition to financial benefits. One of the distinguishing factors in peritoneal dialysis is that you can continue to work. Now I understand some times, this will not be possible. Talk to your dialysis team. They will try to help you through this. If your dialysis team and you decided not to continue work, the social worker will assist you with different benefit plan. This is noting to be ashamed off. Dialysis team and social worker will assist you to improve your financial shortcomings.