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Author Topic: Taking dialysis down the Colorado River - eight day Grand Canyon raft trip  (Read 14868 times)
Bill Peckham
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« on: January 10, 2013, 11:34:41 AM »

January 10
Today I officially paid my balance due for a seven night, eight day 200+ mile raft trip through the Grand Canyon. I am going with AZ Raft on one of their eight day motorized adventures, July 3 through 10. As of today I am the only dialyzor going though that may change. My plan is to dialyze four times on the river - going to short, 3.5 hour runs, instead of my normal 7 hour runs over night. It will definitely be an adventure but I won't be able to say that I am the first to do it - only that I will be the first hemo dialyzor to do it in about 30 years and here.

My plan is to keep this thread updated, up to and through the trip as I have on some of my previous trips. The story of this trip started in 2010 when I did a four day three night raft trip down the Rouge River (after trip report) with my NxStage cycler. The Rouge trip was proof of concept, a trip down the Colorado with a NxStage cycler was technically feasible but would it be allowed? The stretch of the Rouge River that we rafted is road less but there are lodges along the way that were grandfathered in when the river was designated "Wild and Scenic". I plugged my cycler into a wall and relaxed in a lounge chair during treatment when I was on the Rouge - the Colorado would require a generator and there would be no lounge chairs.

After the Rouge trip I would periodically try to figure out if it was possible to raft through the wilderness that is the Grand Canyon, which is when I found a 1983 article about a trip through the canyon using the REDY machine (EDIT: I thought they used a REDY machine but I've now learned it was a device developed at the University of Utah - billed as a Wearable Artificial Kidney). Finally in July of last year out of frustration with not being able to get a definitive answer I wrote directly to Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service asking "I use hemodialysis, the machine is transportable, but aside from a large amount of supplies, I would need power during a Grand Canyon trip. Is it possible to have power on a Grand Canyon raft trip?" Director Jarvis wrote back a few hours later saying he didn't know but would cc people who should and then the next day a very nice woman from the Park Service who manages Grand Canyon concessions called me and we talked for nearly an hour - the short answer is yes - not only can I bring a generator (due to the ADA) but also an assistant can go at no charge!

So I'm going. I turn fifty in August - to mark the occasion I'm going to reestablish the fact that if you are a dialyzor you can still see one of the wonders of the world, for over a week, by raft.


June 30 - Flagstaff
I've made it to Flagstaff with all five boxes of medical supplies and the cycler, I have five photos here (http://imgur.com/a/z7Ol7) showing the packing and transport of my hundreds of pounds of supplies down here. The raft company dropped off three boxes of dialysate to the hotel - I had 24 boxes delivered to their warehouse - so I am set to dialyze tonight and tomorrow night (maybe Tuesday night).

Tomorrow I have an appointment at the raft company with the trip leaders to go over logistics and details - I'll share the details tomorrow night. Pretty excited. Now if only the weather would cool off a bit.


July 2 - Flagstaff
The weather just broke, it has gotten noticeably cooler in the last two hours, from the 80s to the 70s. I think we'll have temps in the 100 degree range rather than the 110 degree range, at least that is the hope. I am a bundle of nerves, I keep moving my stuff from one box to another and futzing with my gear. I had a bit of scare Sunday night when the cooling fans went out on the machine I brought from home, but I used the backup cycler Monday night and a second machine arrived today so I feel pretty confident that the two cyclers, two generators and two rafts will get me through the whole trip. Still, I am a bundle of nerves. I doubt there will be much sleep tonight.

We have a group meeting at 7PM at the hotel and then I'll get on as soon as I can after that. We're to be on the bus at 7AM tomorrow morning so that means I should get off dialysis between 5 and 5:30AM so I can have everything buttoned up, eat breakfast and be down in the lobby on time. There will be 11 of us going with 5 staff from the rafting company. Once again I selected a great outfitter, AZ Raft has been great to work with; I met the trip leader Randy yesterday - easy going with lots of experience. One question I had was when would be the best time to dialyze - I was thinking at first light but after talking about it I'll do it once we stop for the night. Their idea was that I will be dialyzing on the raft since it will be the least sandy/muddy spot and it is coolest by the river. Just as long as the lines keep the raft on shore it should be fine.

One concern (among several) concerned the fluid - dialysate/saline - and the high temperatures but after seeing the rafts I am not worried. The 33 foot, four pontoon raft, has storage in the middle between the two main pontoons and because it is so close the 50 degree water it keeps things pretty cool. They're able to have fresh produce during the trip so the dialysate might be cool enough to cool me down during treatment. I think it is funny because NN&I in their blurb about the trip said I would be dialyzing on a raft and I thought, well not quite but actually ... Yes. I will be dialyzing on a raft.

Hope my next update is on July 10th - with pictures and video.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 04:59:22 PM by Bill Peckham » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 02:22:22 PM »

Wow, Bill,  only a few months younger than me, but certainly more adventurous.  Adventurous to me is simly traveling with a dialysis machine but then I was never an outdoorsy person.  In fact, dialysis prompted me to try some outdoorsy things than I probably would have done, and I"m proud of that fact.  Best wishes on your adventure.
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 03:11:09 PM »

Oh boy, I can't wait!  This is gonna be fun!

I'm assuming you will be posting photos... :thumbup;
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 07:40:46 PM »

oh this IS going to be fun!! Bo and I always tell your 'other' rafting story to even strangers, so now, we get to *sort of * do this one with you  ;D  Thanks so much for thinking of us and sharing this fun with us.  I can hardly wait!!!   :yahoo;
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 01:00:21 AM »

Very cool Bill! I look forward to following your adventure!  :cheer: :cheer: :cheer:
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 08:17:12 AM »

Bill, I was thinking that I wouldn't mind doing this too as a late birthday present.  However I cannot see anything for the dates that you are quoting.
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 08:27:52 AM »

Wow! Sounds like fun!  Keep us updated!
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 08:40:51 AM »

Can't you just go to a movie about the Grand Canyon? 

                 :bow;
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Bill Peckham
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2013, 04:09:31 PM »

Bill, I was thinking that I wouldn't mind doing this too as a late birthday present.  However I cannot see anything for the dates that you are quoting.

I booked the whole trip (12 spots) - if you are interested send me an email, let's talk.

Oh boy, I can't wait!  This is gonna be fun!
I'm assuming you will be posting photos... :thumbup;

Eventually there will be pictures and video but during the actual trip there will be no communication - for those eight days no news will be good news.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 04:11:32 PM by Bill Peckham » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 04:11:24 PM »


Eventually there will be pictures and video but during the actual trip there will be no communication - for those eight days no news will be good news.

What?? No helmet-cam??  ;D
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 04:12:37 PM »


Eventually there will be pictures and video but during the actual trip there will be no communication - for those eight days no news will be good news.

What?? No helmet-cam??  ;D


Oh there may be Go Pro helmet-cam video just no helmet wifi
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 05:45:17 PM »

Bill, this is truly awesome news. You are such an inspiration, and not just because you are a dialyzor. I am eager to see the videos.  :2thumbsup;

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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 06:32:22 PM »

Bloody fabulous...no pun intended.  Sounds like a blast Bill.   :flower;
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2013, 08:53:04 PM »

Can't you just go to a movie about the Grand Canyon? 

                 :bow;

yeah, that's more my speed too.. *LOL*

I prefer to wander the wilds of Manhattan.... *G*  But this sounds like it would be an awesome trip.. I can't wait for the photos
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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2013, 08:45:10 PM »

Cool.  Looks like fun.
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« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2013, 08:11:33 PM »

wow Bill.

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« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2013, 09:52:53 PM »

The flight is booked. The hotel for pre and post river is booked. I'm a bit nervous but it should all come together. I've been working so much this year that time has flown by, it'll be June this weekend! I'm starting to count the days.
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http://www.billpeckham.com  "Dialysis from the sharp end of the needle" tracking  industry news and trends - in advocacy, reimbursement, politics and the provision of dialysis
Incenter Hemodialysis: 1990 - 2001
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        * 4 to 6 days a week 30 Liters (using PureFlow) @ ~250 Qb ~ 8 hour per treatment FF~28
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« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2013, 11:00:42 PM »

The flight is booked. The hotel for pre and post river is booked. I'm a bit nervous but it should all come together. I've been working so much this year that time has flown by, it'll be June this weekend! I'm starting to count the days.

Oh boy! What an adventure!  (I keep hearing that Deliverance banjo, off in the distance, hahahah)
Best wishes all goes well. How many people are going?
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Jenna is our daughter, bad bladder damaged her kidneys.
Was on in-center hemodialysis 2003-2007.
7 yr transplant lost due to rejection.
She did PD Sept. 2013 - July 2017
Found a swap living donor using social media, friends, family.
New kidney in a paired donation swap July 26, 2017.
Her story ---> https://www.facebook.com/WantedKidneyDonor
Please watch her video: http://youtu.be/D9ZuVJ_s80Y
Living Donors Rock! http://www.livingdonorsonline.org -
News video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-7KvgQDWpU
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« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2013, 05:05:08 AM »

Have a great trip Bill, look forward to hearing all about it.
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« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2013, 05:20:19 AM »

I envy you your adventure.
 :beer1;
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« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2013, 05:55:07 AM »

Just saw this thread!

What an absolutely awesome plan.

I hope I'm recovering from a tx in August, but wow. How are the plans going? I'd love to hear all the details.

cheers,
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« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2013, 06:03:40 AM »

Bill that is great.  And my clinic nurses get upset if I do a PD session while on a motorcycle ride.   Hope you enjoy and please keep us updated.  Grumpy
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« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2013, 06:41:53 AM »

.


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« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2013, 08:54:16 AM »

They should make a movie out of Bill's Excellent Adventure!

Who should play Bill?
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« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2013, 09:17:27 PM »

How about Bill as himself? :)

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http://www.billpeckham.com  "Dialysis from the sharp end of the needle" tracking  industry news and trends - in advocacy, reimbursement, politics and the provision of dialysis
Incenter Hemodialysis: 1990 - 2001
Home Hemodialysis: 2001 - Present
NxStage System One Cycler 2007 - Present
        * 4 to 6 days a week 30 Liters (using PureFlow) @ ~250 Qb ~ 8 hour per treatment FF~28
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