Thursday, December 27, 2012

death and dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is generally done 3-4 times a day. If the doctor has advised you to undergo peritoneal dialysis, and you are up for learning it, you can be trained to do it for yourself. Some patients take an interest in learning. Others don't. 

For those who don't learn, their family members/housemates are taught how to administer the dextrose solution.  Since this is a procedure that needs to be done 3-4 times a day, and takes anywhere between 30 minutes - one hour, it is not always possible to have someone at home to do it for the patient who is unable to do it for himself/herself. If you are fortunate, you may be able to afford to pay a dialysis technician to visit your house daily.  

The dialysis technician who visits our house is a young man in his 20s. He leaves his house at 7 in the morning and returns at 10 at night. Some of his patients need him to visit their homes only once a day. Others need him to visit them more than once. It's a lonely life. Wake up. Get onto the bike. Drive to a patient's house. Do dialysis. Get back onto the bike. Ride to the next patient's house. Repeat. Clockwork. Lateness can prove harmful for the patient. Missing sessions can even be fatal. There are no holidays. 7 AM till 10 PM. Every single day.

Peritoneal dialysis needs patience. Peritoneal dialysis requires you to, as far as possible, refrain from touching things other than the patient's transfer set and the dextrose bag. Patients who do dialysis for themselves sometimes choose to read a book or watch TV while they wait. But the professional code for technicians dictates that they must keep their hands completely free and unoccupied throughout the entire procedure.  So our dialysis technician talks. He talks to his patients while they wait. His patients are his friends. 

In the year that we've known him, 2 of his patients have died. Death is natural. Nothing lasts forever, especially not life lived on failed kidneys. 

I wonder what it must be like, to be young, to be in your 20s, to be saving lives and cultivating close friendships that you know are going to end - and knowing that the schedule you live is such that these friends you meet are your only friends.



Tilpu said...

This is a very freaky post

oof ya! said...

Yes, I agree with you. I had to get the freakiness out of my head, and that is why I wrote about it.