by Michael Adair-Kriz
During the winter of my second year on home hemodialysis with the NxStage machine my sister-in-law requested that we go to Honduras for her birthday February 8, 2019. My partner works for an airline and we get discounted travel, so we agreed and I got ready for the trip.
Since this is the first travel experience that I’m writing about, I want to share my preparation process. I always brought more of almost everything to make sure I was prepared for the unexpected. You never know when something is going to fail such as a pre-filled syringe or a cartridge, or even warmer lines. I would buy large Ziplock storage bags and make up a kit for each day and then two or three extra for good measure. All the supplies for every treatment would be in the bag: absorbent pads, empty syringes, tape, hand sanitizer, alcohol swabs, 4x4s and 2x2s, (2) 15-gauge needles, stats, drain lines, and pre-filled saline syringes. Cartridges were separate and the dialysis fluid bags would be right at the max number needed. If a bag failed, which they rarely did, I would just end up having to adjust my treatment. One of the greatest freedoms of doing home hemodialysis is the ability to adjust treatment at will depending on circumstances including fluid intake and blood pressure readings.
We arrived in San Pedro de Sula, Honduras on a clear day, rented the car and we all loaded up the supplies and headed out on the 4 hour drive to Copan Ruinas, the town near the Guatemala border and adjacent to the ruins of Copan. The road was crowded and strewn with massive pot holes. The drive took us nearly 7 hours, and it was a rough 7 hours.
We arrived at our hotel and I immediately set up the machine and did my first treatment. I found that when I flew I needed to dialyze soon thereafter because of the shifting fluid throughout my body. I wanted to be ready to go exploring the next day, so I made sure my blood was clean.
The next morning we got up and toured the ruins after having a traditional Honduran breakfast of scrambled eggs, refried black beans, a piece of savory cheese, tortillas, and coffee. It was quite warm and humid as to be expected in the jungle. As we entered the grounds there were young kids selling handcrafted recuerdos. We visited the museum and climbed around the ruins taking pictures and marveling at the ancient architecture.
After lunch on-site we continued to explore and then, rather precariously, we walked back to town alongside the narrow road where we finally got a mini-taxi to take us back to the hotel. We had dinner, and then I got on the machine again, so that I’d be prepared for another day of exploring. We repeated the same breakfast from the day before, but with the celebratory addition of fancy coffee and cake at an upscale cafe for my sister-in-law’s birthday. We walked around the town, visited a museum, and shopped in the local stores. At the end of the day, we had dinner at a popular night spot and went back to our rooms. I dialyzed again because we were going to be going to hot springs the next day and we wouldn’t be returning until quite late.
In the morning, we took an extremely difficult road to the site of the hot springs. The road was riddled with gulleys and holes, rocks and running water. When we finally reached the springs, it was a lovely Mayan get-away tucked in a little valley. We moved through the circuitous pools passing locals and tourists along the way. After spending hours relaxing, we sat for a local dinner. I’m generally vegetarian, but when in Rome – as they say – I ordered the local fare of chicken and rice, as we all did. To our surprise we saw a couple of the chickens that had been running around the yard selected and executed for our meal. It was probably the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. LOL.
We got back to the hotel late and the next day we hung out around the town. That night, I dialyzed and the next day we loaded up and returned home. Another home hemodialysis adventure notching our belt.