Traveling and Thriving with Home Hemodialysis

Ramona Mack and her husband

Ramona Mack retired from a long, rewarding career with NYC Transit in 2013 and couldn’t wait to travel. Not long afterward, she found out she had kidney failure and would need dialysis. At first, Ramona was scared of what her diagnosis would mean for her future plans. Over time, and with the support of her husband, she’s found a home dialysis treatment that fits the lifestyle she loves.

An interrupted vacation

Ramona and her husband of more than 30 years were on vacation in the Dominican Republic when she first experienced some unexplained swelling and wheezing. When she went to the doctor after returning home, she found out her kidneys were failing and that she’d need dialysis. Already living with diabetes and high blood pressure, Ramona’s first instinct was to run from the diagnosis. Then she went to her first dialysis session at a Fresenius Kidney Care center—and realized she could handle this.

Exploring the possibilities

Ramona was so encouraged by the support she received at her dialysis center that she quickly settled into her routine. When her care team explained that she could be traveling with kidney disease and visiting dialysis centers in different places, it was like a lightbulb switching on. She even went on a cruise and scheduled dialysis treatment at a port city. Then her care team told her, “As much as you travel, you’d be perfect for home dialysis.” With an upcoming cruise on the horizon, Ramona was ready to try.

Mastering home hemodialysis on the go

Getting trained on home hemodialysis went smoothly. “My husband is very technical and astute,” Ramona says of her care partner. “In fact, people call him ‘Dr. Mack’,” because he’s so comfortable now with the home hemodialysis machine. Even though the couple feels that the training really prepared them for any situation, they like knowing that support is always just a phone call away. In fact, they once called for assistance from a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. Ramona also receives ongoing support from her nurse, social worker, and dietitian.

Embracing home dialysis, embracing life

Now that Ramona has made home dialysis a part of her life, she tries to make the most of her time on treatment. “When I’m on the machine at home, I feel normal—I feel in control. My husband and I sit down, we laugh, we talk, or I take care of phone calls. It’s quality time.” At home or on vacation, Ramona also says she just feels better. “I see the difference in my mindset. I go shopping, I go to the mall, I go out to eat—I’m out from 1pm – 10pm and I walk all over the place.” For this woman on the go, home dialysis is the ticket to thriving.


 January 2020

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