Being on dialysis is truly one of the greatest challenges a patient with kidney failure can endure. You must continue to fight for normalcy in your life on a daily basis which is certainly not easy. Being a retired Doctor of Education and Clinical Psychologist, and on dialysis myself for five years, has helped me to understand what these patients are experiencing. It is very important for HOPE to stay alive in each one of us.
H stands for HAPPY
It is vital for dialysis patients to keep a smile on their faces as much as possible. At the center I attend, I sit near the scale and greet everybody entering and leaving. I try to bring a bit of sunshine in their lives, which is like a boost of Vitamin C.
O stands for OPTIMISM
For many, it’s difficult to stay optimistic, but it is a vital part of survival for dialysis patients. I try to listen to any patient who needs to talk. Being a patient myself, others feel comfortable with me and many voice their worries, concerns, and health issues which I can relate to. I have seen the changes in these patients and their caregivers when they know they have someone to share their burden with.
P stands for POSITIVE
I don’t have to tell you how necessary a positive attitude is for one’s good health, not only for the patient but also, for the caregivers. Many caregivers sit and talk with me about what they are experiencing on a daily basis. I listen to them attentively since many of them have no one else to talk to. I tell them how important it is to stay positive and take care of themselves as well as the patiet.
E is for ENERGY
Keeping your energy up is a big step toward keeping healthy. Many patients lose their appetites after a while on dialysis. Their caregivers become concerned and speak to me about it. Being my own caregiver, I can relate to what they are experiencing. My advice to them is that on the days the patient’s appetite is poor to try to feed them several small meals and sit with them and eat something as well to keep them company.
All in all, HOPE is what keeps us all going, but dialysis patients need it in much larger doses. Being there for both the caregivers and the patients helps me to feel useful and to focus less on the negatives. Whatever the future holds for me, I know I have contributed to enriching the lives of others. That, in itself, is one of the greatest rewards one can achieve.
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