Tuesday, 29 May 2012

National Kidney Week!

Happy National Kidney Week! Show your support by wearing red. Technically, the site suggests red undies but I won't turn down any red support. :) I started PD training this week. I've learned quickly which is good in one way. It means my trainer is very nicely giving me Thursday arvo off for my interview and no Friday hospital visit for me either. :) but, it means that she has little to tell me in between bag exchanges. So I'm very bored. And my iPhone has limited charge. Nonetheless, a blog post for kidney week is for sure in order. Since I've been spending so much free time waiting around the hospital, I've been observing people. Today, a couple came in to the PD unit. I think the hubby gets PD and the wife is there as support. That was so nice to see. If you're a Hemo patient, you see other Hemo patients in the hospital. I think there's a kind of community. But for PD, we do it at home and rarely do I see anyone else on PD. It was good to see that couple for that reason. Also to see support. It's a luxury. Mick loves me infinitely and will do anything he can to have me be healthy. He hates hospitals though and gets grossed out by the not so lovely parts of PD. Plus he has to go to work to support our family and can't take time off to watch me do dialysis. Why would he anyway? Then there would be two people bored out of their minds. ;) Still, I think it's cool to see an older couple supporting each other thru this. I have to praise Australia's medical system. I know some people strongly oppose universal healthcare for the US but I'm fully in favor of it, especially after seeing it firsthand. It makes the hospital what it should be- a place for healing and helping. It removes the business of it. No one profits from others being sick. Literally or figuratively. I can't help but get behind that principle. There's no debating about whether to get treatment bc people can't afford it. No cutting corners to avoid costs. I feel like the care I get here is extraordinary and it makes me very sad to think it wouldn't be so great if I'd been diagnosed in the US. Anyway, I digress. I don't want to get all political or whatever. I'll just say that I'm eternally grateful to the doctors, nurses, and staff here who treat me to the best of their ability even though I'm poor and a foreigner. So. Your kidneys. How are they doing? Do you know? Would you know if there was anything wrong? Probably no, to those last two questions. Do you have high blood pressure? Are you overweight? Do you have diabetes? Lupus? Have you felt tired? Nauseous in the morning? Itchy? Noticed swelling in your ankles or fingers or around your eyes? Symptoms of kidney disease are so general and can be explained away by other less threatening problems. If you've not had a blood profile done lately and you have risk factors I mentioned above, please please PLEASE ask your doctor to do a general blood profile that will test for kidney function. You can live a normal life with as little as 20% kidney function do don't be afraid. And that's a life free of dialysis or the threat of transplant if you can catch it early enough and preserve your function. It might mean you use less salt or stop drinking soda. Or maybe it's being caused by a medication or underlying disease you didn't know you had. Getting your kidneys tested can save your life, prolong your life, give you peace of mind. I wish I'd been tested a year ago. If I had, I might not be at the hospital right now. I might not have half of our bedroom filled with boxes, bags of solution, hospital supplies, and an IV pole. I might be able to pick up Em or Ed and give them a hug, not worry about lifting laundry baskets or carrying groceries, have a shower without having to spend 30 minutes afterward changing a surgical dressing. I'm not sad about where I am right now because I'm grateful for my life, my husband, my kiddos, my friends and family. I just want to be able to help someone else avoid the financial strain, the mental stress, and the physical limitations of end stage kidney disease. I want to save your kidneys. :) If you're reading this, I hope you want to save your kidneys too. If you haven't had your kidney function tested in the past year and you're at risk or don't feel right, don't wait. Do it TODAY. This week. And wear your red undies to the doctor's appointment for me, will you? :)