Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

Sunday report and more

Here’s the tally for Sunday:

Blood sugar: 77

Calorie intake: 1156

Additional activity: 171

It was a this and that kind of day Sunday. Work was uneventful, not much perking anywhere and awfully quiet in the newsroom.

I got home, put my feet up for about an hour and began reading Chronically Happy, a book recommended by the social worker at Mayo and written by a kidney patient who’s faced failing kidneys since she was a toddler. I’m not sure what to expect, but the glowing words on the back say it’s full of ways to cope with the depression, etc. If that’s true, I think I’ll donate a copy to the Mercy dialysis unit to let patients read and return.

Battling depression has to be one of the on-going fights for dialysis patients. Some meet the problems head-on and stubbornly dedicated to not letting kidney problems change or rule their lives. 

Arlene is a fiesty example. She announced one evening at the beginning of her dialysis that she wouldn’t let dialysis stop her from doing the things she’d normally be doing.

 She works full time and has to drive about 40 minutes from work to get to the dialysis unit. Her drive home is fairly long, too, which means the icy conditions that seem to be falling on our dialysis days recently make the drives extra harrowing and long. I haven’t been fond of the trip home the last three or four treatment days and I only drive across town. Arlene’s trip is much longer. 

When she comes for treatment, she’s always upbeat in a slightly disgruntled way. She’s definitely irreverent — my kind of woman. She and another younger patient, also a Kathy, often have a running banter going through treatment sessions, that I sometimes join. Add in Trista, the youngest of the evening patients, and it makes for a different atmosphere.

It’s logical that the evening patients are younger than the day shift patients. Most of us work or, in Trista’s case, go to school.

I keep suggesting that they set up Karaoke for us in the evenings or bingo via the TVs. Of course we do have bingo occasionally, though it’s phosphorus bingo (“Under the I, beans.”) complete with prizes. But come on, guys, that’s more an educational tool than just plain old fun.

According to the long-time nurses, when the unit was in Mercy hospital proper, patients were seated in a circle which meant more interaction was possible. Here, the pods, with rows of recliners on each side and individual TVs, discourage interaction. It must be more isolationist for patients.

Hmmmm….maybe they should get keyboards and set up Web TV at each recliner then patients who wanted to could set up chat rooms. That’s not as crazy an idea as you might think and it would allow us to provide support to each other in a real time situation.

Such support could go a long way in allowing patients to vent to others who understand first-hand what the problems are and would probably help lessen depression. Now, if you want to talk to Catherine who’s in another pod, there’s no way to do it unless you take Donna and Dennis’ approach and stroll over to another patient’s station at the end of your treatment. Hmmmm…this idea might need further development.

UPDATE: I just talked with Pat, a business network tech at Mediacom, who thinks the idea sounds good, too. He gave me a local contact number for Mediacom community relations and also gave me some idea of what problems might be encountered. I tried the local number, but had to leave a message. Stay tuned to see where this idea goes. <smile>

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December 10, 2007 - Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, health, kidney, renal diet, renal recipes, transplant, weight loss

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