I am fairly certain that Kidney Dialysis is not widely understood. I started hemodialysis recently and a high school friend sent me a text understanding that my days on earth were numbered! I was pleased to advise them that reports of my demise were false and I planned to enjoy life for the foreseeable future and beyond.
Dialysis is done when the kidneys stop working, or in my case when my kidney transplant stopped working as well. If not for dialysis to extend my life I would be seriously sick right now. But dialysis is not the cure, and people do die on dialysis after years if they do not receive a transplant kidney which does a much better job.
Dialysis removes the poisons and removes the fluids that otherwise the kidney would handle automatically. Hemodialysis involves removing those fluids from the blood. The patient’s blood is pumped through an artificial kidney over and over for 4 hours and cycled back into the patient. The process is relatively painless, and you need to do it 3 times a week. In between times you have to limit food and fluids so the work the artificial kidney has to do on the next treatment is not excessive.
I do dialysis at my local hospital and everyone there is really good at their job and helps the patients manage through their needles and treatment.
So the message is I suppose that kidney dialysis is keeping me alive while I wait to hopefully find another transplant kidney. Another very important message is how overwhelmingly grateful I am to my previous donor and their family for their gift to me of the past 31 years. There is no doubt that I would not be here alive if not for their gift. I am in awe thinking of the difference to my family and to myself that their gift made.
My previous donor was deceased and their identity is unknown to me, therefore I thank them and their family and I thank also everyone who agrees to be an organ donor. Nowadays living donors are increasingly more common in addition to being registered to be an organ donor for when you die to help someone else.
Dear Reader – please be an organ donor, and let your family know your wishes 🙂
In BC, Canada you can agree register as an Organ Donor online in just a few minutes right here.