Know someone living with kidney disease? Don’t be afraid to talk to them about it . . . Military comes to the rescue in Newfoundland


Please take a look at the above graphic and read the six items.

Something one often hears when chatting with someone who is dealing with kidney disease or has had a transplant is this: A lot of people, including family and friends, don’t understand my situation.

Delve a bit further and you will discover some level of frustration because family and friends haven’t asked questions or done much, if any, research, so have little comprehension of what it means to have kidney disease or to have someone else’s organ in your body.

It seems there are people who don’t understand that dialysis, either hemo or peritoneal, keeps those with kidney disease alive. Without dialysis, it would be all over in a hurry.

There also are people who seem to think that once a person has a transplant, well, life simply will go on uninterrupted. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. A successful transplant allows an individual to go on living without having to rely on a machine via dialysis. The return to freedom after having been dependent on a machine for a long time is wonderful. But there are anti-rejection medications that have to be taken, in most cases twice a day. There are side effects, too, all of which are explained during the long process leading up to a transplant. So then it becomes a case of waiting to see if any of them — or, rather, which one or ones — will have an impact on you. Yes, there is mental anguish involved, and stress, lots of stress.

There are regular blood tests, and regular visits to a renal clinic.

All of this is to say, as I have written before, there isn’t a cure for kidney disease. Once you’ve got it, once it has taken root, that’s it. There’s no getting rid of it, not even with a transplant.

If you have a family member or a friend who is dealing with kidney disease or has had a transplant don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask about what they are living with and how they are dealing with it.

They will appreciate your interest and your understanding.

The Manitoba government has come up with $300,000 in order to create more access to dialysis services in the province. . . . For example, the Dauphin Regional Health Centre will end up with 12 more spaces for patients, along with two more renal staff members. . . . When it’s all done, more than 95,000 treatments a year will have been added to a number of communities.

We’ve all seen the pictures and videos that were posted to the Internet during and after that gigantic, humongous snowfall in Newfoundland last weekend. And I’m sure we gasped and maybe even chuckled at some of them. . . . When officials called in the military, some people may even have wondered why soldiers were being given shovels. . . . Well, in the case of Carolann and Chris Harris of St. John’s, the soldiers may have saved a life. . . . Chris underwent a kidney transplant on Dec. 5; Carolann was his donor. . . . So while they both were back home, neither had medical clearance to do anything like shovel snow, and their 14-year-old son did his best, but, hey, well, you saw the pictures and the videos. . . . They asked the city for help on Monday night and woke up Tuesday to find six soldiers helping out. . . . Noah Laybolt has that story right here.

“For most of my life,” Sam Trejo writes in the Los Angeles Times, “I’ve been a model of good health. At 17, I became a certified firefighter, and, at 20, I biked from Texas to Alaska. But last month, at 25, I spent a week in bed recovering from surgery, with fresh incision holes in my abdomen, because I made an unusual choice. I donated my left kidney to someone who dearly needed one — someone whom I don’t know and have never met.” . . . Trejo is a doctoral candidate in sociology, economics and education at Stanford U. . . . So why did he decide to become a living donor? . . . His story is right here and it is well worth giving it a read.


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