Living life to the full on dialysis – Travel!

Over 70's Aust Cricket Team in whitesLiving a full life on dialysis is not just for a lucky few that somehow stay healthy and energetic between BigD runs.  It’s a state of mind.  Just because I dialyse doesn’t mean I can’t do things.  Simple things like getting out of the house for a while: going for a walk or a coffee with a friend, going to a movie or the football. or walking the dog.

Then for a little more adventure, maybe go somewhere out of town on a non-BigD day: to an art gallery or festival in the country, or a shopping trip somewhere new, or a boat or train trip to see the sights along the way, with a lunch or afternoon coffee as a reward when you arrive.  Maybe catch up with some family or friends you don’t often see. If you are a senior, your state government may help: in my state, Victoria, all seniors get two free return train tickets a year for anywhere in the state.  Most others do the same, that’s one less hurdle.

It’s a small jump to extend your trip overnight into a mini-holiday and arrive home in time for BigD the next day.  Stay somewhere different: a Bed & Breakfast (try out Airbnb?), a flash room in the centre of town, or a hotel by the railway station, on board a boat, in a tent (well maybe not in a tent…, unless you are Glamping).  Have a complete change of scene.  It’s fun to anticipate arriving and settling in, (and even more fun to arrive home again).

Once you get the taste for it, it’s not a big leap to arrange for holiday dialysis while you are out of town.  Our world is set up pretty well for us BigD travellers.  While you can’t do it on the spur of the moment, it only takes a little planning to be able to dialyse with a new view (of the beach or the mountains, or wherever) with new and interesting fellow-BigD-ers and unit staff for a day or a week or more.  While you are not there just for the dialysis, it can be surprising just how differently units can operate, and you are never too old to learn new tricks.

HED blood line clamp

HED blood line clamp from Wagga Wagga Renal Unit

(I dialysed in Wagga Wagga recently so I could attend a friend’s birthday.  It is a great unit, very friendly and right up with the latest.  And I unexpectedly went home with a flash new green frog line clamp, which I now use to impress my old fashioned non-green frog line clip using friends at my home unit.)

Of course, once you have got the hang of holiday dialysis in another town or city, the next step is a little grander: an overseas holiday dialysis trip.  While these take more time to arrange, you get so much more to enjoy.  You can holiday almost anywhere: all the big cities and holiday resort of the world, from London to Beijing, from New York to Melbourne and just about everywhere in between.  A short break every day or two to dialyse, and you’re back into the action, for the next tour, camel ride, church, mosque or palace or special event on your bucket list.

It’s not like you will be Robinson Crusoe.   Thousands of BigD-ers get out and about every day.

Here’s just one of thousands of examples (with more to come).

Peter Flack lines up at the crease for Australia in the UK – again

Back in October 2013 ago I wrote about Peter, a sprightly 73-year-old on dialysis, playing cricket for Australia in the over-70s cricket squad that toured England.  Now he’s back!

At 12.05 am on Saturday July 4 MY wife Denise and I we flew out of Tullamarine courtesy of Malaysia Airlines to start our 27-day tour of England to play 12 games of cricket for the baggy greens.  Planning the accommodation and what to do on rest days was great fun, but making sure I could dialyse near each venue took a great deal of organising (thanks Chris at Diaverum).  Over the trip I dialysed four times at Diaverum Forest Hills, once at Salisbury Hospital, twice at Cambridge Hospital, once at Wells-next-the-Sea and twice at Kidderminster Renal hospital. 

Pick the man on dialysis. Peter and the rest of the team (back row 3rd from the right)

Pick the man on dialysis.
Peter and the rest of the team (back row 3rd from the right)

For those that follow the great game, we won eight and lost four.  The Over 60 and Over 70 competition is very strong in all areas of the U K with many of their players taking part in up to 60 games per season meaning they are all in good form and quite fit, so we did well.

Like every trip overseas, I had adventures par excellence, including being caught in a soccer crowd, being rescued by the Police and driven to the hospital in a Police car; taken to the wrong hospital for treatment and being rescued by a Pakistani cricket tragic impressed with my Australian Cricket Team jumper; and most momentous, being carried from the field with concussion after diving to save a four and splitting my head open when I fell on my glasses.  I was declared unfit for a couple of the games and completed the tour with a black eye.  What a triumph.

The arrangements of my treatment as arranged by Chris fitted perfectly with our schedule and without my injury would have enabled me to participate in every game and I say a BIG thank you.

Would I go again — without hesitation!

Peter’s adventures (especially the concussion) are perhaps a bit out of the ordinary for most BigD travellers (but probably par for the course for someone representing his country playing cricket).  But adventures, mishaps, surprises and general serendipities are why we travel.  And on the road, we are adventurers like everyone else, except we dialyse along the way.

Now, maybe, it’s your turn!

For some ideas and lots of travel (and other) resources, go to the shiny new Kidney Health Australia website.  It’s excellent.

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