Wilton resident Gene Waters bids good night to his wife three times a week and heads to Saratoga Springs.
Dressed in sweats, the 66-year-old walks into the Rubin Dialysis Center around 8:30 p.m. with his toothbrush and blanket and checks in with a nurse who takes his vital signs.
He sets up his CPAP machine for an apnea condition, puts on a pair of headphones and switches on the small television by his assigned lounge chair while nurses wire him up to his dialysis machine.
For the next seven hours, Waters’ kidneys will be flushed of the toxins that have accumulated. Many nights he sleeps through his session until 4 a.m., at which time a buzzer will go off on his machine, signaling it’s time to go home.
Waters said the alarm reminds him of the machines at Saratoga Racino and jokes that he “won again.”
In many ways, having in-center nocturnal dialysis therapy is a win-win situation.
Previously, Waters received in-center daytime dialysis regimen that spanned 3 ½ hours each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He said the 3:30 p.m. start time was inconvenient and interrupted many of his activities.
“You had to hurry up and get everything done in the morning, come over here in the afternoon, then by the time you’d get home at night ... my wife would come over and we’d have dinner here — McDonald’s, that kind of stuff — and there was no good lifestyle,” Waters said.
Now with the overnight therapy, which he has been receiving since July, he is back home by 5 a.m., feeds his cats and goes back to bed for a few hours. He also has time to play golf with other retired friends Tuesday and Thursday nights. On Friday mornings, he accompanies his wife to the supermarket and goes out to lunch.
Clinical systems coordinator Shari Meola said the overnight process, which was introduced to the area in January 2012, not only fits better into a patient’s lifestyle but is slower, more thorough and gentler on the body than “traditional” therapy that takes place over 3 1/2 hours.
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“It’s much like the normal body function works,” she said.
Meola said it fits in with the Rubin center’s goal of being a “one-stop station” that also includes in-center “after work” dialysis from 5 p.m. to midnight and in-center 3 1/2- hour daytime treatment, as well as internet monitoring with trainers and support staff for those who wish to do overnight in-home therapy.
Terry Daniel, 35, of Mechanicville is on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. He has been going to the Rubin center since last October for in-center night-time therapy.
He said a day-time in-center schedule didn’t work with his daughter’s wrestling and basketball practices but neither did the in-home dialysis he used previously. There was inventory to manage, special batches of water to make — and he didn’t like inserting needles in his arm.
A nurse takes care of all of that for him now.
“I really dig (in-center nocturnal therapy). I go to sleep or I watch TV — or it’s a great opportunity to get some reading done or watch a sports event,” Daniel said.
Ten patients have signed on since the Rubin center began offering nocturnal therapy, according to Meola. Each person agrees to commit to the program for at least two months to give themselves a chance to get used to sleeping in a different bed.
Patients like Waters say they have no desire to go back to their old dialysis methods.
“I’m not missing anything,” Waters said. “The other nights my wife and I are home, we do what we want; we go to movies, whatever. We just know these three nights (of therapy) we can’t do that.”
Visit the Rubin Dialysis Center at www.rubindialysis.org or call 587-1919.