More than half of David Davis’s life has been spent on dialysis. Not that it’s slowed him down. His willingness to follow a strict regimen of medication, dialysis and lifestyle changes has kept him healthy since starting dialysis at 21.


More than half of David Davis’s life has been spent on dialysis. Not that it’s slowed him down. His willingness to follow a strict regimen of medication, dialysis and lifestyle changes has kept him healthy since starting dialysis at 21. Fresenius Medical Care Smyrna recently congratulated Davis on being recognized by the American Association of Kidney Patients for being a quarter century patient, or one who has been on dialysis for 25 years or longer.

At his Nov. 19 recognition ceremony, Davis of Smyrna was all smiles and surrounded by family, friends and employees at Fresenius. They’re like friends and family as well, considering that he is in there multiple times per week.

Clinic Manager Sherry Kuma-Walters said most patients are in for four hours, three times a week. In that time, their kidneys are trying to achieve what a normal kidney does in 48 hours. The kidneys clean blood and remove excess fluid. Over time, if the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, toxins build up.

Kidneys are sensitive organs, Kuma-Walters said. The problem is that the vessels that feed into the kidneys are needle-thin, and when sugar courses through those it can clog them and make it difficult for kidneys to do their job.

Kidney disease is often a result of hypertension and diabetes, Kuma-Walters said, although there are congenital defects and other diseases that can lead to dialysis.

The key to success on dialysis, especially long-term success like Davis’, is following a strict regimen.

“It’s all about compliance. He never misses an appointment, he follows his diet, he never misses a doctor’s appointment,” Kuma-Walters said. “He follows his regimen well.”

Davis takes medication, gets dialysis and follows a renal diet, which calls for controlled fluid intake, limited foods high in phosphorous and preservatives, and low salt and sugar intake.

“I pretty much eat what I want, but I limit it,” he said.

Davis said his life didn’t change much after going on dialysis. He retired three years ago, but before that worked as a supervisor at the Purdue Chicken processing plant. He still takes his grandkids to the park and said staying active is another important step in controlling his health.

Davis’ mother Mary Taylor of Dover said there is no family history of kidney disease, and she was nervous when David was diagnosed. Now, she knows he can handle it and is proud of him for staying so healthy.
 

Email Sarika Jagtiani at sarika.jagtiani@doverpost.com