The most difficult part of my life is dialysis. A kidney injury years ago recently forced me to accept dialysis and I don’t like it. Make no mistake I’m grateful for it. Someone said dialysis is a form of life support – and it’s true, it’s a radical but beneficial medical intervention. But it’s still tough to deal with for many reasons including these:
- It’s an intrusion on my life three times a week and in my case five hours per session.
- Just as I am moving toward overcoming my amputation and regaining freedom of movement with a prosthesis, dialysis throws me back into dependence on detailed medical care, something I don’t like at all.
- Most of the time my energy and activity levels are high these days but dialysis wears me out and puts me in a funk for several hours after each session.
- It doesn’t just intrude it tends to dominate. I usually measure my weeks in terms of dialysis/no dialysis days and see only the free days as truly mine which depresses me. It also inconveniences my family and restricts many things like diet and travel.
Sometimes I come to a short-term peace with dialysis but more often it gets the best of me. The deepest problem is that barring a transplant (itself a long and difficult process) three days of dialysis is locked in for the rest of my life. That’s tough to take.
Two things sustain me. First, I remind myself that dialysis is a gift of God that makes everything beautiful in my life possible – and so I should and do give thanks for it. Second, as I move toward walking and driving again I’m making plans to do meaningful volunteer work. With dialysis there has to be a reason why, otherwise it’s just a matter of staying alive and that’s never good enough. But I’m teaching myself to think of my dialysis as making possible some wonderful things I will soon be able to do. That makes those long hours in the dialysis chair pass a little easier and binds the week together in a way that focuses on a broad future instead of a narrow medical schedule.