Single father can now work after night dialysis

Some kidney patients, like Mr Jais Minsawi, are choosing to have dialysis done overnight. As these sessions are longer, they are more effective in removing toxins. Patients are also able to sleep and their daily routines are not disrupted.

From a huge plastic bag, Mr Jais Minsawi pulled out the items to ready his bed for the night at the National Kidney Foundation's (NKF) dialysis centre in Hougang Avenue 8.

Out came a brown blanket which covered the whole dialysis chair. Two small blue cushions were used to line the edges of the chair for added comfort.

Then he slid in, wrapped himself in a blue blanket and propped up his head using yet another pillow.

"I am ready," Mr Minsawi, 54, declared to the nurse as she started to link him up to the dialysis machine for the night.

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The NKF centre is the second to offer night dialysis. The first centre in Jurong West Street 91 started providing the service in March last year. Both centres have 18 chairs each.

"At first, I couldn't sleep and would wake up to watch TV. We can plug in our earphones to listen so it doesn't disturb the rest," said Mr Minsawi. There is a flat-screen TV mounted on the ceiling in front of each dialysis chair.

ABLE TO DO MORE

I would recommend others night dialysis. With it, I can do so much more with my life.

MR JAIS MINSAWI, who is now able to work.

Thrice a week, Mr Minsawi arrives at the centre at 10pm after work. He had a toe amputated a few months ago due to diabetes. By midnight, the group of 10 men and women receiving dialysis treatment would be fast asleep.

Like the others, Mr Minsawi would wake up at about 5am when treatment ends. He then takes a cab back to his flat in Circuit Road to finish some household chores or catch a few more hours of sleep before his shift at work starts.

He works as a patient relations officer at the NKF's Yishun branch from 12.30pm to 7pm, six days a week.

 

In the past, the single father could not work because his dialysis session in the day would stretch from late morning to the evening and he would feel drained by the end of it. Finances were tight and he saved money by going to Malaysia to buy groceries.

"I felt depressed and spoke to the staff about wanting to work, and they suggested that I go for dialysis at night and offered work with them in the day," said Mr Minsawi, who has a 27-year-old son.

The arrangement worked well. His health has improved so much that his medication has been been reduced from 12 different types of pills to five.

Because the longer nocturnal dialysis sessions enable bigger-sized toxins to be removed and places less stress on the body, patients are allowed a less restrictive diet.

Mr Minsawi has been able to eat more of his favourite food: chicken bao and fried ikan bilis. His doctors used to discourage him from eating ikan bilis because it is high in phosphate.

On weekends, he feels alert enough to teach music at community centres.

"I would recommend others night dialysis. With it, I can do so much more with my life."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 23, 2017, with the headline 'Single father can now work'. Print Edition | Subscribe