A trip to Russia whilst on PD by Henry de Souza
I wanted to share a story on my trip to Russia while on PD...
At the age of 60, I was advised to start PD in the form of 3 CAPD transfers per day. I am passionate about traveling and still have a list of several countries I wanted to visit before I get too worn out, so I was disheartened when I was put on PD. My daughter didn't want me to give up on my dreams though, so she searched the web to find other patients that might have travelled on holiday while on PD and who could share some advise. She found the Global Dialysis Forum, and based on several very encouraging posts that we found, we decided to plan a trip to Russia, which tops the list of places I really wanted to see.
I gave myself a month to get used to the PD process. We contacted Baxter and they said we could pay for the PD supplies here in India and the supplies would be delivered to our hotel in Moscow and St Petersburg. We also contacted the Airlines and they said as long as we were carrying a medical certificate, it would be alright to carry a couple of bags of solution as cabin baggage as well as were agreeable to increase our checked in baggage allowance. Still, I preferred to avoid performing a dialysis on the aircraft while travelling, so we checked with my doctor and he said it would be alright to skip PD for 24 hours, but I would require to do a PD once I check into the hotel in Moscow.
In Moscow, we had a bit of a fright as the hotel staff weren't able to find the shipment of PD bags and other supplies sent by Baxter. After a tense couple of hours of calling our Baxter contact in India and the one in Moscow, we found out that shipment had been delivered but the Hotel staff hadn't logged it down at the front desk and so they didn't know when we asked them, eventually we were able to trace the supplies. We ordered just enough supplies to be delivered for 5 days in Moscow and the remaining supplies were sent to our hotel in St Petersburg where we were staying another 10 days.
It was a bit tiring doing the manual CAPD 3 times a day, and we had to set a routine for ourselves. Each morning, I would have to perform the first PD as soon as I woke up, then we'd have breakfast and head out for our personalised tour until lunch. After lunch, (basically 8 hours after the the first PD) I would do the next CAPD in the hotel room and then take a nap, then we'd head out again in the evening and then after dinner, do the final CAPD before going to bed (again another 8 hours later). This schedule worked in Moscow as it was easy to break up our siteseeing schedule into morning and evening slots, since every place is pretty central or easily accessible due to it's intense network of metro stations.
In St Petersburg, although we stayed in the Old City, and many places were around 20 mins walking distance, it would however get a bit tiring after having spent 1/2 a day out and then having to walk 20 mins back after lunch just to do the CAPD. And a couple of tours we arranged were outside of the city, and were full day tours. Based on a few forums we read on Global Dialysis, I gained some courage to risk performing the afternoon CAPD while on the tour - once at a dark corner table of a clean restaurant on the grounds of the Summer Palace (I kept hoping noone was noticing, and we actually ate our lunch during the exchange) and once in the private car we hired. My Baxter Technician back home was not at all pleased when we told him what we'd done, because CAPD exchanges have to be done in very hygienic conditions (to avoid serious risks of infection), but we tried to be as careful as possible, and we'd carried a sanitizer, cleaning alcohol and sanitized bags like other travellers had advised and we just chose to take the risk rather than miss out on those full day excursions. Luckily nothing went wrong on our 15 day trip and I am already planning my next holiday!
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