Nocturnal dialysis gives patient new lease on life

Renal

These days Raymond Kamuta leads an active life. He is studying, does volunteer work and regularly hits the pool for aqua walking. But this wasn’t always the case.

Mr Kamuta, who is part of the new nocturnal dialysis programme at Middlemore Hospital, says when he first learned, in 2014, that he had kidney failure his response was shock, then denial.

“I was sort of like a rebel. I didn’t listen to the nurses. I didn’t go to my treatment. I still thought I was ok,” he says.

It was only once he started to feel very sick that he began to follow medical advice, but it wasn’t without its challenges.

“They [the nurses] gave me this brochure and it said ‘End Stage of Life’ and I thought ‘Oh my gosh I’m going to die now,’ until I spoke to one of the nurses and she explained to me as long as I follow the guideline, I will be ok.”

In the beginning Mr Kamuta was treated with dialysis for five hours at a time but a few weeks ago he began receiving eight hours of dialysis overnight at Middlemore Hospital and he says he is not looking back.

“When I first started Nocturnal Dialysis I was a bit shady about it because it is so long. But I have noticed that I am feeling better – like I can do things. I do a lot of walking now which was limited before and my breathing is perfectly fine.”

Mr Kamuta says having treatment overnight frees him up for his daily activities. “It gives me ample time to do what I want to do,” he says.

He is one of 12 patients arriving at Middlemore with blankets and pyjamas at around 7.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Once the patients arrive they weigh themselves to check how much fluid they have gained over the last two days and then they are set up with the dialysis machine, leaving the hospital in the small hours of around 5am in the morning.

He says he has no difficulty sleeping in hospital and generally only wakes up once his treatment is finished.

As an added bonus he has become friends with the other five nocturnal dialysis patients – they’ve already had a lunch date and regularly share tips with each other about how to manage their condition. He is also very happy with the care he receives on the ward, especially from the charge nurse assigned to the ward, who he says makes him feel safe and at home.

Mr Kamuta says he understands he will likely remain on dialysis until he can receive a donor kidney.

“I’m happy with the machine, until there’s a donor, I’m happy as.

I go home [after treatment] and I am active. I get ready for work. I do aqua walking.

Those sorts of things I don’t take for granted anymore.”