“I started dialysis all of a sudden. There wasn’t time to really consider anything other than in-center dialysis,” Eric Blocker recalls.“Everyone at the center was so nice; they took good care of me, but something just wasn’t right.”
Center dialysis wasn’t working for Mr. Blocker. It left him feeling exhausted and suffering from painful muscle cramps. Mrs. Blocker was worried.
“He’d go to treatment at the center and then come home and just sleep the rest of the day,” Mrs. Blocker remembers. “He didn’t have any energy; he wasn’t himself.”
Between the hours at the dialysis center combined with the long recovery time at home, the Blockers worried dialysis would take over their whole life. And, they worried they wouldn’t be able to travel, something they both loved to do. The Blockers wanted a better life. Mrs. Blocker decided to call her husband’s kidney doctor and ask for a meeting.
“I explained to the Blockers that home dialysis does a better job of replacing kidney function. It means slower, more frequent treatments. More like how healthy kidneys work,” explains nephrologist Dr. Siddiqui. “Because home dialysis is much gentler on the body, I suggested the Blockers consider learning how to do treatment at home.”
The first step was to learn about Mr. Blocker’s treatment options.
“My job is to help the patient understand each treatment option so they, with their doctor, can choose what best fits their individual health and lifestyle,” explains Kevin Jourdan, aOptions Educator. “My goal is to help each person feel their best and live a life that brings them as much happiness as possible.”
Mr. Blocker chose home hemodialysis. Together, the Blockers began the training program at Satellite WellBound Memphis.
“At first, everyone feels a bit overwhelmed with the new terms, the equipment, and the supplies. But mostly, they ask me ‘what if something goes wrong?’,” Lauren Page, home dialysis nurse, explains. “I reassure them, ‘you might be doing dialysis at home, but you are never alone. We are here to help 24/7."
After a few weeks of training, Mr. Blocker started dialysis at home. Within a few months, treatments became routine. He begins his treatment in the lounger in his living room. To pass the time, he chats on the phone with his five adult children or tunes into a classic Western on his big screen TV. The rest of the day, he has the time and energy to exercise, do things around the house, and run errands.
Best of all, the Blockers have begun to travel again. They started with long weekends at some of their favorite spots. They are even planning to go on a cruise soon. They plan to take the dialysis machine and supplies with them so Mr. Blocker can do his treatment wherever life takes him.