Dialysis Briefing 3. From Shock to Acceptance

Here is the third Briefing module.  As usual, it is not quite as I expected.  It was to cover two aspects: Physical, how you may feel before the session; during the session; after the session; when you get home, effect on sleep; and Emotional (Mental): dealing with the new reality; the grief cycle.

I received several very valuable emails and comments on both topics, but especially on the grief cycle.  As a result, each turned out to be bigger than expected.  So I decided to write one sheet on each topic, beginning with grief: coming to accept life on dialysis.

So here is Briefing 3. Dialysis – from Shock to Acceptance

Special thanks to Devon Texas and Carl from Winnipeg, Canada for their valuable input.


While researching the grief cycle, I found that there are several versions.  The 5-Stage cycle is the most popular, but I think the 7-Stage cycle is more appropriate for BigD-ers.  However, I found a wonderful summary of the 5-Stage cycle in Wikipedia from The Simpsons, which is well worth repeating:

Dr. Hibbard: Now, a little death anxiety is normal.  You can expect to go through five stages.  The first is denial.
  Homer: No way!  Because I'm not dying! [hugs Marge]
  Dr. H: The second is anger.
  Homer: Why you little! [steps towards Dr. H]
  Dr. H: After that comes fear.
  Homer: What's after fear?  What's after fear? [cringes]
  Dr. H: Bargaining.
  Homer: Doc, you gotta get me out of this!  I'll make it worth your while!
  Dr. H: Finally, acceptance.
  Homer: Well, we all gotta go sometime.
  Dr. H: Mr. Simpson, your progress astounds me.

7 thoughts on “Dialysis Briefing 3. From Shock to Acceptance

  1. This whole thing you are doing? Has been a GOD SEND thank you, I read them all with much interest, this is such a void that you are filling so wonderfully:)


  2. I just wanted to say thanks for making this blog. I’ve been reading it for quite some time. I had a kidney transplant 16 years ago and my function is steadily decreasing. I just had my fistula placed on Friday. I read your post about remembering the day you came home and sat on the couch and heard the blood flowing for the first time. That’s when I noticed it, too…after laying down at home on my couch.. reading it just made me cry because you put into words what I couldn’t. I’m only 27 and I’m never going to be the same. It’s a lot to take in and most days I just don’t even think of it, but sometimes it feels very frustrating. Frustrating that I can’t yet do the things I want to. Frustrating that I feel I won’t live as long as most people because my kidneys have been failing me since the day I was born. The most frustrating thing is, there’s not really much I can do about it.

    I’ve never been angry about my situation in life but now that I’m going to start dialysis, I feel it creeping in.

    I’m glad your blog is there to remind me I won’t be upset forever. It’s only temporary.

    Some day I’ll feel like myself again. I think before you start dialysis you become a little more sick and a little more sick that pretty soon you don’t even realize you’re sick, you just don’t feel like yourself. If that makes sense.. I digress…


  3. I didn’t have time for any of this. I was sick in the morning and was on peritoneal dialysis that evening. Unfortunately I just soldiered on having all this stuff hit me about 25 years later. I was lucky to find a good psychologist and have very supportive friends and family.


  4. Pingback: Stopping dialysis: Really? | Big D and Me

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