OK, so this is my dialysis chair

OK, so this is my dialysis chair
for the morning.

(narrator) Matthew Herbert comes
to Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra Hospital

for dialysis three times a week.

We've got our own little telly as well,

and that's the dialysis machine.

- That's Marion. Hello, Marion.
- Hello.

This is a fistula.

They need to put the needles into a vein

but your normal veins
are all a bit too small.

The needles are quite large
and it would end up blowing the vein,

so they cut your arm open
and bring a vein to the surface

like they have on this one,
as you can see.

They make a little loop
with an arterial vein and a normal vein.

That increases the pressure
in the normal vein

and you can put the needles in
because it makes that vein bigger.

This is about nine years old,
this fistula.

Matthew's unusual. He's one of three
patients who puts his own needles in.

We normally needle the patients.

(narrator) Many units are encouraging
patients to become more involved,

including needling their own fistulas
and setting up machines by themselves.

Time, ten past seven, yes?
So 25 past eleven.

That's what time I'll be done.

(narrator) There's a wide variation
in the recovery time

different patients need
between dialysis sessions.

Matthew's chosen profession is one
of the most stressful you can imagine.

He's head chef at a restaurant
in Petersfield, Hampshire,

which he runs with his partner Kay.

It can be anything up to 60,
65 hours a week,

spread over six days.

Obviously now's a very busy time for me.

I'm straight off the dialysis.
Usually I get here at ten.

When I have dialysis
I have to get here when I can get here.

I'm feeling a little drained
at the moment. Quite drained.

But you've just got to keep your head
down and plug along, just carry on.

(narrator) Matthew is 28 years old and
started dialysis when he was just 17.

When I was in Southampton Hospital
for a long time

I used to watch a lot of cooking shows

and ended up taking an interest in it,
and that's where it all went.

Then I went to college
and that's how it started, really.

I just got interested.
This got me into cheffing.

(narrator) When he was 15
Matthew caught FSGS,

a rare form of kidney disease

that unfortunately can recur
in transplanted kidneys.

There are many patients
may not be suitable for transplants

and for them, dialysis is necessary
for the rest of their lives.

(Matthew) This will be
for the rest of my life.

My dad gave me a kidney.

We waited five years and I thought,
"I've waited long enough"

and unfortunately my old illness
came back

and polluted the kidney that he'd given
me and I was back to square one,

so I got them to take it back out
and I came straight back on here.

It's very hard to handle to begin with,

not so much for Matt and myself
but mostly for his family

because they've got all their hopes
pinned on a transplant that works

and hopefully him living into old age,

children, grandchildren and everything.

(narrator) Matthew is able to balance
hospital dialysis appointments

with his working and family life.

However, for some people dialysis
at home may be a more suitable option,

either in the form of haemodialysis
or peritoneal dialysis.

I remember when he first started at 17.
He came with his dad and his mum.

I sure did.

He still smiled and was very optimistic
about the whole thing.

(Matthew) You know, it keeps me alive,
keeps me happy.

What more can I ask, really?