Recently I have reconnected with an old school mate. Turns out he is having kidney problems. If it wasn't for the technological advances in the way we stay connected to each other, we would have never known about each other. Yes, another facebook success story. I personally find facebook to be a rewarding meeting place. I have met up and become friends with so many people on there. I might not be getting a kidney if it wasn't for facebook. That is where Lindsey found out about my story. Anyway, facebook is a whole different discussion.
I mainly want to talk about the "club." No your not missing out if you are not invited. It's what I refer to as the kidney club. People with kidney failure are a different breed of people....or so my experience has been. I have observed that we are all fighters by nature, not willing to give up. From what I witnessed in the dialysis clinic, we can be difficult patients at times...and yes I include myself in that. But we all have a big heart and reach out to one another. Kinda like prison, "what brought your here?" gets asked. For some it was blood pressure, diabetes, PK or like in my case, some rare and out of the ordinary disease. What we lack in kidneys, we make up in heart. We wanna help the "new guy at clinic" feel welcome. It is a scary and depressing place. I had so many sweet patients try and make my clinic experience better. And I made some great friends at dialysis and because of dialysis. Some friends were patients and other were people from church or other places who kindly and generously took me to dialysis. Any hoo, dialysis patients lean on each other for support many times because nobody understands the journey, unless you have travelled it yourself.
For me, Alyssa was my saving grace. Once I found her and we figured out we were going through the same thing at the exact same time, I knew I would get through this, with her! She is the brave one of the two of us. She started dialysis first, started peritoneal dialysis first and got her transplant first. She has and remains my guiding light. I don't know what I would have done without her. She is the ONLY person who knows what I have been through.
And now there is this new person, who might have to start dialysis. I am going to pray that either his kidneys wake up and start their job or he gets a transplant. I would love nothing more than for him to skip dialysis all together. But if dialysis is in his future, I want to be his Alyssa. I want to guide him and help him get the best care from the beginning. I learned a lot about "what not to do" in the dialysis world. For example, going to a small, hospital owned dialysis unit is a BAD idea. I just want to steer him and his family in the right direction.
This is just an act of God. It just goes to reinforce how important EVERY encounter with EVERY single person in this world is. You never know who is going to change your life or be able to help you in some way. In some ways, being a part of the kidney club and having this experience has taught me so much. More than I probably would have ever learned otherwise. We all need each other whether we want to admit it or not.
Linda Burke left a comment for Jeff Wilhelm
9 months ago