DIALYSIS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE SO BAD
She was funny, kind, and full of beans but her kidney’s were failing. The doctors said she needed to start dialysis which would mean regular visits to a dialysis center hooked up to machines to “clean” her blood.
My aunt was was no dope. She wasn’t going around that corner.
She said – I’ve had a good life. I don’t need to cling. It’s time.
But, you know how it is, right? You don’t get off that easy. The rest of us wanted her to at least give it a try, right? If you choose not to do it, there’s no going back. Look, it’s your choice, but wouldn’t it make sense to give it a few weeks?
She gave in, of course. She let herself be hauled to the dialysis center and, for months, she put up with the nausea, the abdominal pains, the lethargy, the headaches.
And then, one day, she had had enough.
That’s it, she said. I’m through. I’m not putting myself through that one more time.
And she didn’t.
She went home, said goodbye, fell asleep, and never woke up again.
None of us thinks she did the wrong thing but – dang! – we miss her.
Why get into all this? There’s a new option – something that wasn’t available to her.
Usually patients “get their blood cleaned” three times a week. The sessions last four hours.
It’s brutal. Most patients go home and collapse . By the time they feel better, it’s happening again. What if the process was stretched to say eight hours? Would slowing things down make it easier on the patients?
They tried it. Dr. Ercan Ok (Ege University in Turkey) told the American Society of Nephrology’s 41st Annual Meeting all about it. The people in the study showed up three times a week just as they did before. But now they brought their PJs and spent the night. They slept through the sessions and woke up feeling much better than they did under the old regimen. It was much better tolerated with less side effects. The most exciting thing? The mortality rate plunged 78%.
MISTER ScienceAintSoBad thinks overnight dialysis – even home dialysis when possible – is going to be very popular. I’m sure you know what I’m thinking, right? But I don’t have a time machine. And she had a really good life.
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The drawing is by me