May 10, 2022

Patient Diaries: 1st Travel to South Padre Island

By: Michael Adair-Kriz 

After restarting dialysis in July of 2016 and beginning at home hemodialysis on my NxStage
machine in September, we waited until May of 2017 to take our first trip. We were held up by my cardiac issues, and also, we weren’t quite sure we were up to the travel. We wanted to test it out on a close destination, and also, take our little rescued dog, Millie. We made a plan to go to South Padre Island. We advised the airline that we’d be traveling with one day’s worth of dialysis supplies. We got to the airport, went to the special services counter, checked in our boxes, and flew the hour down the coast to the famed spring break vacation site. We were excited to try out the mobility and versatility of the home modality.

Before we set out, I carefully assembled the necessary supplies. I saw a post on the Facebook page Home Dialysis Forum about putting together ziplocks with all the necessary supplies. Of course, the anxiety of forgetting something, which would result in having to return home prematurely saturated the planning efforts. Each part of the process has its own tools without which you’d have to improvise, if it was a minor item, such as 2×2 gauze, or forego the session entirely, if it were a major item such as the 15-gauge needles. This trip was also our first with our little rescue dog, Millie, so we had to make sure we had all that she needed, too. I checked and rechecked our supplies, though it was only going to be one treatment. The ziplock bags carried the essential “soft” items, while the “hard” parts were packed in the pox as they could fit. The pole for the hanging bags, the bag warmer that sits on top of the machine, the blood pressure cuff, the ipad for the Nxto Me software, hand sanitizer, paper towels, drain line, and filter holder that attaches to the machine all needed to be packed carefully. While the six bags of dialysate were carried in their own boxes two by two.

We checked into a beachside hotel that I had stayed in a few years prior. The situation was different this time, however, I’d be doing dialysis in the hotel room, rather than, running around the town and lounging at the water’s edge. We took our dog, Millie, to see the ocean. She loved it…running toward the water then away from it because of her dislike of getting wet. She chased the different birds that did the same push me, pull me, dance. It was fun to watch her frolic. Afterward, we found a shoreside seafood restaurant where we leashed Millie to a chair with us and we ate and watched the Gulf of Mexico until the sun set. We went back to the hotel and set up the machine. I did my treatment with no hiccups. I had remembered everything, but the hand sanitizer. I don’t know how I missed it, but I resolved to make a list and check it off to assure that I got everything in the boxes next time. I actually never did make that list, but usually remembered all the supplies. We stayed the next day and flew out the next morning. The first adventure away from home with our NxStage machine was successful and primed the pump for much longer and farther adventures.

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