Roger Stamp (55) likes to discover the world. Even being a dialysis patient does not stop him from doing so. During the last seven years he has been on dialysis he has travelled all over Europe. In our interview he shares his experience to inspire other patients to also go on holiday and relax from everyday life:
You look fresh and relaxed from your summer vacation in Switzerland. Are you traveling regularly?
I travel two or three times a year to go on vacation and to visit friends and relatives. So far I have been to Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Barcelona, Lisbon and the Lake District. The Lake District is my favorite destination here in the UK. I also like Barcelona, the city just has a lot to offer: you can walk along the beach or you can go to a restaurant – as long as you mind your diet – or you take a bus tour round the city, see Gaudi´s buildings, the Sagrada Familia, art galleries, or just spend time with your family. There is also a Diaverum clinic in Barcelona you can go to for dialysis. In the Lake District, there is only one clinic run by a very nice couple.
So you are really used to going on holiday dialysis. Can you explain how you plan your vacation?
First of all I decide about the country or destination I want to go to. Then you talk to your clinic staff to check if there is a dialysis clinic nearby. Diaverum is normally quite good in supporting you with that but you can also contact a travel agency specialised in dialysis patients. What I like is that Diaverum does not just arrange dialysis for its own clinics. In some destinations you have clinics, in some not, but I was always helped to get dialysis treatment at the destination I wanted. Next step is to book a hotel and flights if necessary. I would recommend to start four or five months ahead, last-minute bookings are more difficult and you will also feel more comfortable. A month before your vacation starts you do all the blood tests and send the results and forms to the holiday dialysis clinic. Diaverum does that normally for you and if it is a Diaverum clinic you are going to, it is even done automatically over the system. After that it is time to get excited and to make sure you get on the aircraft or train in time. (smiles)
What are your tips for people going on holiday dialysis the first time?
The main issue might be that people are afraid that it will all go terribly wrong. You feel nervous about many things: Will the nurses speak English? How will the treatment be? The first times I went on holiday as a patient I felt very nervous. I was also put off by all this paper work, the blood tests and all the forms but the holiday dialysis system here makes these things a lot easier and that takes away many barriers. Back home I thought ´That was great! I will go again!´ So, you just need to plan ahead and be a little bit brave. It will all go well and you will feel so much better about yourself and that will improve also your general health condition.