By Michael Burke.
I have a history of medical problems, having had prostate cancer with radiotherapy treatment, a heart attack (two stents fitted) and a stroke affecting my eyesight, which meant that I had to lose my driving licence. I also had a spinal vascular disorder, which has taken much of my mobility, and a previous deep vein thrombosis. I now have chronic kidney failure and been on peritoneal dialysis for 2 years.
Having been to France, north of Bergerac, for a family wedding and experiencing the ease of manual dialysis, I opted to do the same when invited to another family wedding in Galway, Ireland. Knowing we were only going for a few days, it was quite easy to arrange the delivery of dialysis liquids to the hotel.
Everything went well in Galway, the equipment was delivered to the hotel ready for our arrival. Conducting manual dialysis is a little inconvenient, having to do 3 to 4 changes throughout the day, it still leaves you free to enjoy other activities. I did, however, experience a small problem with a leaking catheter which was repaired without too much disruption at the local hospital.
Our second trip away this year was an extended two and half month holiday to see our son James and his lovely wife Emma in Sydney, Australia. We did a fair amount of research before the trip, researching hospitals with dialysis units in the area. I contacted the head of dialysis in Australia and received a very friendly and helpful reply.
The ‘Home Therapy Unit’ at Chorley and the Fresenius Medical Care team were magnificent in assisting us with our plans, as well as being positive and encouraging about our trip. Knowing it would be difficult to operate manual dialysis for two and a half months, I made enquiries about having a Fresenius machine on loan, similar to my machine in the UK.
Everyone we spoke to was positive, and I eventually contacted the Dialysis Executive, Sue Greaves, in Melbourne. Sue was instrumental in helping us. She told me that once I had obtained the plans in the UK, she would be able to source a machine for me.
Gill Watson, our holiday planner in the UK, and Michelle Lane at Fresenius worked together and organised everything. Sue Greaves and Marian Coates from Fresenius Australia, located a machine identical to my own, subsequently advising me that our trip could then go ahead.
The travel time to Australia is long, so my wife Dorothy and myself, with advice, booked flights with the shortest stopover. Travelling with Cathay Pacific, we flew from Manchester to Hong Kong with an hour and a half stopover before the connecting flight to Sydney. It took us 27 hours from door to door, and we had booked Economy Plus to give us more legroom and comfort which proved to be very beneficial.
We had 132 boxes delivered to my son’s house in Sydney by Fresenius Australia, ready for our arrival. Fresenius also supplied me with a sleep safe cycle machine, similar to mine at home.
Knowing it would be difficult to operate manual dialysis for two and a half months, I made enquiries about having a Fresenius machine on loan, similar to my machine in the UK. “
The flight wasn’t a problem, with the exception that on arrival in Sydney I discovered that I had a deep vein thrombosis, which meant that I spent my first week in Australia in hospital. However, this diagnosis in no way affected my dialysis, and whilst I was in the hospital, I was able to dialyse with Baxter equipment, which meant that I had to have a small adjustment made on my equipment from Fresenius to Baxter connections.
Following discharge, I quickly settled with the dialysis routine at my son’s house. Cameron Hunt, from Melbourne, an expert on dialysis, assisted greatly with my ability to overcome any issues I had whilst in Australia. All went well, mainly due to the considerable help from both teams on either side of the world. We had a wonderful trip and fantastic assistance. We give our thanks to all concerned.
Here’s to our next adventure!