Jack added a comment a few weeks ago that is worth re-posting as a separate topic. It’s a little twist on our most fundamental challenge.
I am a young 91 yr old man who has had systolic kidneys for over 30+ years. 4.5 +- creatinine level. last April (2015) my kidneys finally gave out and after a week in E.R. and another week in rehab. now on dialysis 3 times a week for 3 hours. My last check-up showed my creatinine at 5.9., a little improvement.
I do not think the doctors think I am a candidate for transplant at my age, but I am completely frustrated and depressed having to take the treatments. I played tennis up to one year ago. If it was not for the love of family, I really do not know how long I could tolerate. Do you, or anyone, have suggestions?
Hi Jack. Young 91 year-olds are just as entitled to be frustrated and depressed as the rest of us. And you are in exalted company. I’m sad to say these feelings never go away entirely, no matter how long you are on dialysis. But the big plus of dialysis – if you are getting enough – is that you get your active, healthy life back between sessions. That is a huge gift, considering the alternative. If you walked or ran, played tennis or wrestled bears before dialysis, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same after you go on dialysis (maybe smaller bears…).
Your body will need a few weeks to get used to the new routine, but if the dialysis is right, then you will be too.
Of course, I’m talking physically here. Recovering mentally is a different thing altogether. And you are not alone in how you feel Jack. Others have gone so far as to philosophise about it, probing the seven stages of the grief cycle that have become our intimate allies: Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Testing and eventually Acceptance.
But there is a world of difference between theory and practice. I am certain that while many of us BigD veterans have finally reached acceptance, that doesn’t mean we have finished with our old friends Anger and Depression. They are just under the surface, ready to emerge on weak days.
About a year ago I walked around our dialysis unit with my phone set on video and asked a range of people, young and old, what it was what like to be on dialysis (have a look, it’s worth it). Everyone, in one form or another, said that in their head they were grateful, and accepted that they needed dialysis, but in their heart they still resented the time and hassle. Amen.
But as you say, there are other things in our life besides dialysis. Like family and sport, and for me personal projects, history, travel, Mandarin, writing, tech and biotech. So much happening in the world. It’s a great ride, and who knows what tomorrow will bring?
And what’s the price of a ticket on this ride? Dialysis? – Pretty steep! But worth it.