By: Nadeem Rasool
Nadeem Rasool is a Chronic Kidney Disease patient who has created iDialysis, a free mobile application for dialysis patients to allow them to track their blood pressure, weight and blood sugar levels.
I didn’t know anything about Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or what dialysis was. However 2 years ago, my life changed completely in one Saturday afternoon. The afternoon was the 1st time I was on call for my company. I watched a film, and suddenly felt out of breath. I called NHS Direct Line, they told me to go to a walk-in clinic. When arrived at the walk-in clinic the doctor told me that my blood pressure was over 200 and my kidneys were leaking protein and blood in urine, though I could not see the blood. I was admitted into the hospital and even then I still didn’t grasp what was happening. I was kept overnight on constant monitoring. The hospital staff were asking me a lot of questions and I didn’t understand why my wife was crying a lot or comprehend what the doctors were saying. The illness was aggressive, I couldn’t breathe and to be honest it was all a blur. I never realised until I was told much later, that I was in a coma for 2 days. My kidney was shot, so in a space of a couple of days, I went from being a healthy guy to Stage 5 Renal Failure. I had a line put in, it was strange but manageable and my time in dialysis began.
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The beginning of dialysis in the hospital was interesting; I would speak to the nurses, be friendly or ask questions. I was still weak but I could walk. My healthcare team would educate me about CKD such as what Dry Weight was, and why I had to limit my fluid intake. I would see how they use the dialysis machine, especially the on-board computer part where it records your blood pressure. The programmer in me would think of different ways this could be improved. It was a game I played in my head; you could say it was my way of just coping with what was happening at that time. After a month, I was transferred to a Satellite Unit, near where I lived. 3 months on I had a fistula and my line was taken out.
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For the next year and an half, that was my routine every week. To go to the Dialysis Satellite Unit, say "Hi" to everyone, sit down, get scared when the needles went in, start dialysis, watch TV, read Twitter/Facebook and then wait until the session ended. It wasn’t until one dialysis night where I nearly lost consciousness that the idea for the App came about. That night was the same as every other night, except toward the end when my skin started to itch a lot. The machine just finished, I asked for the A/C to be turned on at full, then my skin inside began to burn. I was so hot, but also I was so tired. I wanted to sleep, which was strange as I never could sleep in Dialysis. I closed my eyes, next thing I see is the Head Nurse shouting at me, and slapping my face. He did something on the machine, and I began to feel alive and not tired anymore. It took me a while as to what happened. It looked like my blood pressure was way too low.
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I began taking an interest in blood flow, blood pressure and weight. I was recording the reading mentally. But I wanted to have an app which I could record this useful information and see how my blood pressure was. I also wanted to see a graph to see it visually. I looked into Google Store, and saw there was nothing for dialysis patients to record this information, so me being the programmer, saw a problem and wanted to provide a solution.
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I think this was my lifeline. Instead of being depressed, I worked in my head what was needed, drew database diagrams with relationship and coded at home after dialysis. I felt for the first time in a long time that I was being useful. I thought “is this why I was given this condition?” I didn’t feel depressed, instead felt like a man on a mission. I asked my friends on twitter to help out testing it and I asked Devon, someone I met on Twitter who blogs on Dialysis to also help me. He provided some insight in the United States and also comes from a software engineering background. I didn’t release the product until July 2013, I finally got a Kidney Transplant from my little brother. As I was recovering, I was fixing the bugs and submitted the App to Google.
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I always wanted to help people and this was my way of helping. Through my journey in Dialysis, everyone I met has helped me, from other Patients, The Nurses and Doctors. They have been so kind, so this is my way of giving something back to the Dialysis Community. I do honestly hope it helps out. For more information on iDialysis or the downloading process email KidneyBuzz.com at: firstname.lastname@example.org.