Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

Thank you, Melissa

Melissa,

Thank you for commenting. The blog seems to help me and, I’m finding, other dialysis/transplant patients through giving a voice to some of the things we experience in common.

I can understand your husband’s depression and frustration.  The wait has to be miserable, I realize that though I haven’t even started that wait yet. I’m certainly no Pollyanna, but when I do get frustrated and depressed and angry, I try to remember that I couldn’t/wouldn’t even have those feelings if the machines weren’t keeping me alive.

Right now, after two weeks mostly in Rochester and mostly eating out, I’m fighting an excess 2.5 kilos of fluid probably retained because of the increased sodium in my diet from eating out.  It feels defeatist because I need to lose weight before I can think about transplant and I can’t tell if this is adding to my dry weight or not.

Mayo dialysis sent me out the door the 2.5 kilos heavy because they were certain I couldn’t take off 5 kilos in a single treatment, something I do pretty routinely at the Mercy Outpatient Center. So, it will take me some time to be able to pull that extra off.  Try as I might, I cannot go for long without drinking fluid and though I try my best to keep it within the 48-ounce restriction, I seem to gain a lot of fluid between treatments.

I certainly am no expert in depression and sometimes wonder “why me,” though I try not to dwell on that aspect.  No matter what the reasons why, it is me and I have to deal with it. 

My brother recently sent me a couple of cards of encouragement that kind of sum up my philosophy about the whole thing since one was humorous and the other sincere. 

The first highlighted my never-ending attempt to laugh at myself and the situation: It pokes fun at my first colonoscopy, an obivous rite of passage.

The second brought tears to the corner of my eyes because it reflected his belief in my inner strength and my ability to  cope with the difficulties I face.

Forty-seven is much too young to be facing this horrid thing. Sixty is, too, or 75 or 90. But truthfully, modern science is what allows us to face it.  Were it not for dialysis, I would be long dead and celebrating Thanksgiving with my mother and son from the other side. 

For me, the quality of my life outside dialysis and this disease is still worth my living it.  I think each dialysis patient who is sentient has to decide that for him or herself. We do have the choice of not accepting dialysis and at some times, knowing that choice is mine makes what I’m tolerating more tolerable.

I noticed you commented on my tribute to Henry Morgan’s family.  I saw his wife just before my first Mayo appointments.  Henry had been fighting kidney disease for over 30 years and that last night, she said, after the doctor told her “I’m losing him” she went into his room and told him, “You can go, Henry. It’s all right. I’ll be all right.” He cried, she said, when she spoke, and she’s positive her telling him it was all right to let go made his passage easier.

If your husband — or you — have not discussed his depression with the medical staff, please do so.  There are medications that can help lift that veil of sorrow.  The disease and its treatments and its side effects ripple through your whole family and friends and I’m sure his depression is, too.

Encourage him to talk about it, if he doesn’t.  I’ve found just expressing my fears, grumps and grumbles helps me to make it through the day and to laugh at myself.  The nurses and techs at dialysis, I find, are great sounding boards as long as you don’t lash out in anger at them.  They may not know exactly what you’re going through on a personal level, but they are unusually empathetic and know the venting isn’t aimed directly at them.

It may actually be more difficult for you to vent since you’re trying to support and be strong for him.  Make sure you find some time for yourself. It sounds selfish, I know, but you need it and you need private time to deal with your own emotions, thoughts and fears.  If you live where you can find a transplant support group for caregivers, go.  It will make you feel less alone, I’m sure.

Actually, I’m going to post this reply to you as part of my blog because I’m sure others will relate and I want them to know that this blog is a place they can come and share their thoughts, fears and laughs, too.

If I could, I’d hug you for real. Since I can’t, please accept my virtual hugs to both you and your husband.

Kathy

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November 22, 2007 - Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, health, kidney, transplant

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