Before Kidney Transplant, Home Dialysis Preserved New York Father’s Freedom to Work, Travel
Bruce Pleskow, a 62 year-old husband and father of three who lives in Buffalo, New York, knew the day would come when his kidney function dropped below the acceptable limit and would require that he begin dialysis. Bruce has diabetes—a risk factor for kidney disease—and he and his nephrologist had been monitoring the health of his kidneys for several years.
However, Bruce wasn’t ready to give up his lifestyle—which includes regular travel for work, vacations and visits with his grown children. Fortunately for Bruce, he was able to choose a therapy that preserved his lifestyle – peritoneal dialysis (PD), a type of dialysis that a patient self-administers at home.
As a pharmacist who works at Baxter, Bruce was familiar with PD, which works by cleaning the blood of toxins and removing extra fluid through the body’s peritoneal cavity. Most U.S. patients perform therapy using a machine called a cycler—such as Baxter’s AMIA with SHARESOURCE or HOMECHOICE PRO automated peritoneal dialysis (APD) systems—that infuse and drain solution automatically, often while a patient sleeps. The ability to choose when and where they dialyze means patients can work during normal business hours and bring equipment with them to dialyze when away from home for extended periods.
“I’m a pretty active guy. I’m not one to sit at home, so I educated myself about my options,” said Bruce. “I really like my job at Baxter, and wanted to keep working and live according to my schedule while I waited for a kidney transplant.”
With his nephrologist’s approval, Bruce worked with Baxter’s travel program—which provides travel advice and coordinates delivery of PD therapy products—to travel for both work and leisure, including a trip to Puerto Rico and to Denver to visit one of his adult sons.
Renal patients should realize that performing PD therapy away from home is less challenging than you might think. I traveled three out of four weeks every month for work in addition to going on vacations, and my PD cycler and fluids went wherever I was.
Bruce Pleskow, pharmacist at Baxter
“Renal patients should realize that performing PD therapy away from home is less challenging than you might think,” said Bruce. “I traveled three out of four weeks every month for work in addition to going on vacations, and my PD cycler and fluids went wherever I was.”
In April 2016, after being on PD for about one year, Bruce received a phone call he had been waiting for – a kidney was available, all the way from California. Within 24 hours, Bruce underwent a successful kidney transplant.
“I feel lucky in many ways,” said Bruce. “While on PD, I was able to live my life and remain healthy enough to receive a kidney. And, ultimately, someone made the decision to donate their organs so I could have a second chance.”
Rx only. For safe and proper use of the devices mentioned herein, refer to the complete instructions in the Operator's Manual.
Tips for U.S. Patients Traveling on Peritoneal Dialysis
Like Bruce, many renal patients on PD can perform therapy while traveling—whether they are staying with friends or family or even in a hotel room. All that is required is some advance planning and coordination with one’s renal care team. For patients with upcoming travel plans, Baxter’s U.S. travel team provides the following advice:
- Inform your PD health care team: Your doctor or nurse can determine if the destination and duration of the trip is appropriate for your overall level of health.
- Get a letter from your doctor explaining how and why you perform PD: This letter can help answer questions from authorities about your PD equipment and supplies, especially if traveling by air.
- Contact Baxter two months before traveling: If you are using AMIA or HOMECHOICE PRO, the Baxter travel team will alert your dialysis center about the order, help calculate how many supplies are needed, provide a quote for shipping and handling costs and arrange for delivery of supplies to your travel destination. If traveling overseas, the Baxter travel team can also confirm that your equipment and fluids are approved in your destination country and provide guidance on items needed to operate the cycler, such as transformers and power adapters.
- Alert your destination of the supply shipment: Contact your destination, be it hotel or private residence, and ask them to store PD supplies in a cool, dry area until you arrive. In many cases, hotels will have PD supplies waiting in the room upon check in. If traveling to another country, contact the local U.S. consulate to confirm the procedure for customs clearance and ask for advice on any permits, duties or taxes that may be applied to supplies.
- Pack your cycler: Carefully box up your APD cycler and keep it with you as carry-on luggage. Legally, a cycler is not considered an additional carry-on item, which means there are no additional fees, and airlines must give it priority over other bags. Most airlines also have accessibility and special assistance coordinators that can help accommodate medical devices, but some request you contact them ahead of time.
- Go through airport security: If traveling by air, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows external medical devices, such as cyclers, to pass through security checkpoints. If you have a catheter, discreetly notify the TSA officer conducting the screening and you may undergo special gentle screening procedures to accommodate the device.
For more information about traveling with PD, patients are encouraged to contact their renal care team. Patients using Baxter PD supplies are welcome to contact Baxter HomeCare Services during normal business hours at 1-800-284-4060.