My name is Michael Newton and although I have known for many years that ultimately, I would need dialysis, it came as a shock when I realised the implications of just how it would take over both my and my family’s lives when I actually started dialysis in May 2017.
Apart from the dialysis three times a week, what really struck me was my apprehension at the thought of travelling abroad. I decided to learn as much as possible about just how I could maintain a good quality of life, not only for myself but also for my wife Moira, who has supported me through thick and thin and decided to join the NKF. I have also become a member of RFHKPA.
I have benefitted from the expert advice given by the NKF Helpline and also some of the interesting articles in their newsletter, which showed me that it is possible to live a normal lifestyle whilst on dialysis.
Too good to be true?
I noticed an advert in the NKF newsletter offering free holidays in Sicily with Dialysi Mucaria. This seemed to be too good to be true, so I emailed them and asked for further information. Within a few hours I received a phone call from the lovely and helpful Rosaria who told me the following details about the unit.
- They provide free dialysis in their various units to those who have an EHIC card.
- They would provide a free taxi service to take me and bring me home from my dialysis sessions.
- They would contribute 100 euros to the cost of my flight.
- They would provide free accommodation for me in one of their well-appointed self-catering apartments.
- They would only charge 15 euros a day for my wife’s accommodation with me.
- They would arrange a driver to collect us from and return us to the airport.
- They would arrange for a hire car to be delivered to me.
- They also arrange outings to places of interest and pizza evenings (great fun) and will advise on local attractions and places of interest.
I was still cynical so asked her to give me the contact details of others who had been to Sicily with them. I duly called the contacts and I received glowing reports, so we decided to go to Sicily. We went for two weeks in October 2017 and I was astounded by the efficiency and care given at both the dialysis unit and the support, advice and assistance given to Moira and myself.
Trapani and the area around has a rich and varied history, located in a beautiful seaside setting with a large choice of restaurants and shops. There are so many places of beauty and interest within a relatively short distance of Trapani. I cannot speak highly enough of the professionalism, genuine care and service that we experienced.
Trapani is at the westernmost extremity of Sicily and there is very little foreign tourism in that area. All the major tourist destinations are located in the east part of the island (4 to 5 hours by road), so the local tourism industry is trying to do all possible to encourage tourists to the area by offering various forms of support to make Trapani attractive.
I would highly recommend this experience to others, and Moira and I look forward to returning next year.
By Michael Newton