Feeling 100 Times Stronger: How Nocturnal Dialysis Changed Gina’s Life

April 10, 2024
Gina and John

“I am getting better with nocturnal dialysis. My bloodwork is incredible and I feel a 100 times stronger,” says Gina.

Gina never could have imagined that a simple scrape on the shin could lead to total organ failure, until it happened to her.

In 2022, just a few days after New Years, Gina was rushed to Humber River Health, in complete organ failure and heart block.

She started hemodialysis immediately and was admitted to the Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for two months, with her husband John, right by her bedside the whole time.

While in intensive care, Gina suffered another setback – an aneurysm, heart valve rupture, and endocarditis that required an emergency seven-hour open-heart surgery. Following her surgery, she remained in a coma for another month, waking up without the ability to see, move, or speak.

For 14 months, she stayed at Humber River Health for rehabilitation, where she was given a speech valve to help her speak and physiotherapy to help her move her arms. John, helped her exercise her legs every morning, and Gina felt his support every step of the way.

“My husband stayed with me the entire time. He never left my side. The nurses called him their hero,” says Gina.

By the time Gina was well enough to return home, John had learned so much from the nurses that he was able to become her primary caregiver.

Due to her extensive health conditions and seeing that it would be nearly impossible for her to get to the Hospital, her Nephrologist Dr. Harold Borenstein, recommended her for home dialysis.

After she was discharged from the Hospital, Gina began training at the Reactivation Care Centre for hemodialysis with nurse Jennifer, who later ended up coming to her house to also train John for three months.

Eventually, she began nocturnal dialysis, which allowed her to dialyze for seven hours at night. Due to this type of dialysis, she is able to walk properly, continue her physiotherapy, and heal from her wounds much faster.

Nocturnal dialysis is a slower, longer hemodialysis treatment that takes place at night while you sleep. This longer treatment is for six to eight hours, three times or more a week.

Every night, John helps Gina set up for home dialysis.

“I am getting better with nocturnal dialysis. My bloodwork is incredible and I feel a 100 times stronger,” says Gina.

Now, thanks to nocturnal dialysis, Gina is a candidate for a kidney transplant. She attributes this to the ICU staff at Humber River Health.

“I had the most amazing team. They became my friends and my mentors,” says Gina. “They are kind and caring. Now, every time they see me, they come over and applaud my progress.”

Empowering Nephrology Patients: Transition Care Unit

Learning to live with kidney failure is a significant adjustment for both patients and their families. Thanks to the support of our donors, Humber continues to uphold its promise of accessible healthcare by developing programing like our Transition Care Unit, which empower nephrology patients with greater flexibility and autonomy over their treatment. To learn more, please contact Caterina Magisano at cmagisano@hrh.ca