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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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Rich Berkowitz


Enough already! Stop the drumbeat!

That’s the message this dialyzor and many others are crying. Quit messing with our lives. After all it’s our population that has the most to gain -- or lose. How many lives must we lose to renal failure, to both fatalities and spirit? Too many people have died too early needlessly. Too many people have seen their essence disappear. It ain’t easy to feel yourself dry up like an overused washcloth.

Just try dialyzing three days per week for up to four hours each time. Just imagine all facets of your life shriveling up. Imagine feeling washed out with excess fluid being drained from your body too fast. Imagine just surviving a long weekend with body chemicals getting all out of whack. I can imagine both surviving the long weekend and having a heart attack during and right after. I've done it. But I’m a survivor.

I also got out of the prison of conventional hemodialysis and got home just in time to live on not just for another day, but another six years. And it’s not just a life of getting from one day to the next. It’s a purposeful life where I found my new calling – that of an advocate for more optimal dialysis. I’m an advocate for rehabilitative therapy that allows people to be as best possible restored to their life before kidney failure struck them down. For people of working age, they continue or regain the ability to be employed. To others, it means a closer and more meaningful relationship with family and community.

There are few people I know who have broken the chains of inadequate therapy who would return in-center. Is this proof enough for our ivory-towered clinicians (no, not all live in an ivory tower)? Apparently not for many who in the face of reason continue to demand more studies, which presumably they will survive to write another scholarly paper.

It’s time for patients to loudly declare “enough already. Stop messing with our lives”.

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