A peritoneal dialysis patient, Hendricks only needs to visit Groote Schuur every  month for a check-up which includes tissue typing in case a potential donor turns up. The rest of the time she takes responsibility for her own dialysis at home.

Suffering from chronic high blood pressure and lupus for almost as long as she can remember, Hendricks has been a peritoneal dialysis patient for the past two years.

But it was touch and go or the 59-year-old Athlone resident didn’€™t access the life saving treatment.

‘€œAt first they didn’€™t want to even consider me for dialysis. My blood pressure was very high and I was overweight. I was very upset and asked the doctors   – ‘€˜Should I then rather die?’€™ The doctor treating me for the lupus tried to encourage me to lose weight. When I made up my mind I was going to try I really went for it and I lost a lot of weight.

‘€œThey assessed me and a letter arrived at the lupus clinic informing me that I had not been accepted. I was very upset and disappointed. I thought it was the end, but I persevered, lost some more weight and in the end they accepted me when I re-applied,’€ Hendricks explains.

‘€œIt was hard for me to accept that I may be living with this condition for the rest of my life. I was questioning God ‘€“ why was this happening to me? Why me? I was angry. I didn’€™t want to accept the fact that I would have this tube in my stomach and that I had to repeat this process every few hours, but my family were amazing and they helped me to accept,’€ says Hendricks, who lives in a backroom where her mother cares for her.

One of Hendricks’€™ main regrets is that she is not able be away from her house of long periods. She has to dialyse every four to six hours which means she can’€™t venture very far from her home. ‘€œMy day and my time is not my own, but I do realize if I did not have this dialysis I would be dead.’€

‘€œI really wish for a kidney otherwise it’€™s till death do us part. But I am positive and hopeful that there will be a kidney,’€ she says.

Asked what her biggest wish is to make life easier, Hendricks doesn’€™t hesitate. ‘€œA shower. I can’€™t bath with the tube in my stomach so I wash every day in a bucket. I never really feel clean. Some days I wish I could just lie in a bath, but I know it’€™s not possible. Not for now.’€

Hendricks is one of 40 patients currently accessing peritoneal dialysis at Groote Schuur.


  • Health-e News

    Health-e News is South Africa's dedicated health news service and home to OurHealth citizen journalism. Follow us on Twitter @HealtheNews