Robert Richardson, 46, discovered eight years ago that his kidney function had deteriorated to the point where he needed dialysis. It resulted from glomeril nephritis, a chronic condition he’s had since age 5. “The doctors caught something on a physical, and they had me see a nephrologist,” Richardson said.

“The nephrologist told me my kidney function was down around 15%.” By fall of that year, Richardson, newly married and working as a teacher and a tour guide in Savannah, Ga., was performing peritoneal dialysis several times a day at home. The procedure removes toxins from his blood by filling his abdominal cavity with a special solution. After three-and-a-half years using that treatment, Richardson said it left him feeling tired. He switched to home hemodialysis, in which each night he connects to a machine that filters his blood while he sleeps.

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