Rick Steinhilber of Hebron is a patient at Northwest Indiana Nephrology who up until around four months ago was travelling to dialysis centers around Northwest Indiana for his treatments. Steinhilber would drive to Centers in Valparaiso, Merrillville, Portage and Chesterton for treatment just to break up the monotony of travelling to the same place multiple times every week.
“You get tired of the same place and the same people every time,” said Steinhilber. “There really were no problems but I just wanted that change for my own benefit.”
As Steinhilber got a little older it became more and more of a burden for him to get to the dialysis centers, especially in the winter months.
“Driving to the clinic was almost like going into work every other day. Now, my eyesight has gotten worse, I’m getting older and I have trouble driving in the wintertime because I don’t see all that well when there’s snow on the roads. I used to go get a motel the night before dialysis if there was any snow in the forecast.”
Making the transition to home dialysis changed all of that for Steinhilber. “Now I can sit here, look out the window while on dialysis, watch it snow and not have to worry about it,” he said.
“I’ve always known that home dialysis was available but you have to have a caregiver with you,” Steinhilber said. “It’s not that the dialysis in the Center wasn’t good dialysis, it’s just that this is much better. I’ve got seven days a week that I can do whatever I want all day.”
Steinhilber and his wife now have a room set up in their home which makes the process much easier and means that he has much more time to do the things he wants to do every day.
“She’s my technical support,” Steinhilber said. “She sets the machine up, hooks me up and takes me off of the machine.”
Steinhilber requires dialysis for three hours per each treatment which he does four times every week.
“It’s working a lot better,” said Steinhilber. “For one, it gives me time. I can still golf, mow the lawn and do yard work. It basically gives me all day to do whatever I want. For 13 years I had to do everything on Tuesday, Thursday or the weekends because I was in dialysis on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Now, I’ve got seven days a week to do whatever I want during the day.”
At the same time that Steinhilber and his wife were learning about his home dialysis machine and how to set it up, the company who makes the machine was training NWI Nephrology nurses.
“It went really well,” Steinhilber said of the learning experience that he and his wife were able to have. “As the guy was teaching the nurses my wife got the chance to learn right along with them. We were lucky to be there and that was definitely a positive thing. Shawn (Kroft) and all of the other workers there from NWI Nephrology are all professionals.”
“Home dialysis is another freedom,” Steinhilber reflected. “Around every corner, just like everyone, there’s a natural fear of the unknown. To me, going into it as another change I thought it would be for the good, which it has been. There was always that fear of the unknown though.”
From Steinhilber’s point of view it’s been, the entire experience that he’s had with NWI Nephrology and transitioning to home dialysis has been a really positive experience.
“It’s been great. My wife loves learning. She could be a professional student so she caught on right away. It’s like anything else, we’ve noticed that it gets easier as you go once you learn what you’re doing.”
“I would say to anyone going on home dialysis that you have to buy in 100%,” Steinhilber concluded. “You will never get rid of that fear but it certainly gets easier as you go. It’s all been really good!”