Clinic helping dialysis patients cope

A little bit of Bingo and a lot of visiting with friends is how Virginia Smith and Carletta Thompson get through the holidays. Both lost their kidney function to high blood pressure.

Each week, the two spend four hours a day, three days a week in a dialysis chair.

Link: DaVita Diet Helper

"We don't miss our dialysis days so they fix it so we can have our holidays and be with our family," said Smith.

The DaVita Dialysis Center in Inglewood is asking their staff to work back-to-back hours to help give their patients a holiday from dialysis.

"So if they can get there and be with their family, and get that enjoyment they are going to be very happy. That is what we're trying to achieve," said Dr. Richard Sires.

To get thru the holidays safely and comfortably dialysis patients have to be very careful about the types of food they eat, and the amounts of fluid they take on.

"Between treatments people will gain all of the fluid that they have taken in if they are not making any urine. They make take off 4 to 6 kilos of fluid during a treatment. The less fluid you take in the less we have to take off," said Dr. Sires.

For people with chronic illness -- the holidays can be even more stressful, so a supportive environment is important. Carletta says the staff and all the patients keep tabs and share information with each other.

"It encourages us to stay away from one thing and maybe encourage us to have something else," said Thompson.

Both Carletta and Virginia are hoping to improve enough to someday get on a kidney transplant list. In the meantime they're grateful for each day treatment on dialysis gives them.

"We all are family. We're family and we love each other. When we see the chair empty we miss each other," said Smith.


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