My Journey onto Nocturnal Dialysis

My name is Marianne Hawes and I have been a haemodialysis patient for eighteen and a half years. I have experienced three renal units, as a resident patient, in that time, in different parts of the country.

I started my renal treatment in a London hospital which was a very busy and chaotic unit. I started self caring due to either having to wait to be put on to dialysis or doing self care. Having a needle phobia made me think twice about self caring but with a lot of support from a patient who was already self caring and help from the nurses, I slowly learnt how to line and prime my machine. Then came the hard part – conquering the needle phobia and from then on I haven't looked back.

I moved to York nine years ago and on my first day, dialysing at Easingwold Satellite Unit, chatting to one of the nurses, Pauline, it was suggested that I would be an ideal candidate for home haemodialysis. After talking it through with my husband, Nick, we said it was a no brainer and when could we have dialysis at home?

After initial training, the machine and all the kit was installed in our home. I started off dialysing every other day for three hours which in itself was better than doing the standard three sessions at the unit. From there I went to five days a week doing two and a half hours at a time. During this time Nick and I did quite a lot of research in to nocturnal haemodialysis. I liked the sound of this as the various articles I read said it was the nearest thing to a transplant.

For four, what seemed very long, years I nagged my consultant Paul Laboi to agree to me having nocturnal haemodialysis at home. To which came the reply that it's a case of funding and the powers that be have to agree. It was October 2012 when I was given the news that I could have nocturnal haemodialysis, for which I've got to thank the renal team.

The training started in January 2013 and took about four weeks to complete as this was a whole new method for all of us, including the renal team. As you can imagine it was a large learning curve!

Within the first week I stopped taking phosphate binders and was eating as normal people eat, with no dietary restrictions. Well that's what I tried doing but I had to train myself to eat normally which took a couple of months. Now, after a year I would recommend nocturnal haemodialysis to anyone. What a life style change!

In my eyes there is no better time to dialyse than over night. As you only use a single needle the pump is a lot slower and you can sleep. So all in all you have all day to do what you want and I don't get the fatigue associated with the normal regime of haemodialysis. I do six nights a week which is my choice and there isn't the build up of toxins in your blood, this to me is as normal as it can get.