Traveling across the country with a portable hemodialysis machine.

Photo courtesy of NxStage

Photo courtesy of NxStage

Harvey Wells uses a portable hemodialysis machine in his recreational vehicle. He’s traveling across the country to raise awareness of the benefits of using the device.

DEARBORN — Harvey Wells is doing something that most people heading out on a road trip don’t: traveling across the country in his recreational vehicle with a portable hemodialysis machine.

Wells, 57, has end-stage renal disease, which means he needs have a machine clean his blood and do the work his kidneys can’t. The machine, called the NxStage System One, allows him to do treatments himself when and where he wants to.

On Friday, Wells stopped at Fairlane Dialysis center in Dearborn to speak with other ESRD patients and raise awareness about the health and quality of life benefits of daily home hemodialysis.

The portable hemodialysis machine allows him to do treatments himself when and where he wants to. The machine, which is as small as a 13-inch television, doesn’t require special water hookups and is powered by a standard electrical outlet, so Wells can dialyze in his hotel, at a relative’s house or even while at a campsite.

In the past, Wells never imagined this trip even would be possible because of his ESRD, which afflicts more than 470,000 Americans. He used to do in-center hemodialysis — the most common form of dialysis treatment — which required visiting a center three times a week for treatments lasting four to five hours. The time-consuming, draining process left him feeling fatigued, wiped out and unable to do any of the things he wanted to do, most of all spend time with his grandchildren.

With the portable device, Harvey typically does dialysis in the comfort of his own home on a more frequent basis. That allows the machine to act more like a functioning kidney.

The home treatments are much gentler on Wells’s body, resulting in increased energy levels and being able to live a more active lifestyle. In addition to feeling better and no longer being tied to a center, he is looking forward to the quality time he now can spend with his grandsons.

For information on dialysis home therapy, contact Fairlane Dialysis at (313) 441-1160 or visit