Recently, I completed twenty years on dialysis In India, only a few patients complete such a long time on dialysis. I am fortunate enough to know 3-4 people who have completed a long time on dialysis.
Each one, I guess, has his or her own secret to live long on dialysis. For me, it is only one thing - get as much dialysis as you practically can. I dialyze for 7-8 hours at night, six times a week. I can confidently say that I am alive due to this. There are many people who are on thrice weekly dialysis and have been on dialysis for longer than me. So I guess the magic recipe is different for different people.
Dr. John Agar, a nephrologist from Australia says dialysis is like love making: longer the better, gentler the better and the more frequent the better!
I couldn’t agree more.
When I tell people that I dialyse daily and that too for 7-8 hours every night, they are surprised. They ask me, “You need that much?”
Well, I don’t need that much. I choose that much.
It is not rocket science honestly. The kidneys of a healthy human work 24 X 7 X 365. No breaks. Dialysis is simply replacing kidney function. So, it is quite obvious that the closer you to get to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, the better it is for you.
The best part of getting optimal dialysis is that it allows you to be more relaxed with the diet and fluid restrictions. I pretty much eat and drink what I want and however much I want. Since my body gets such good dialysis, I am able to swim every morning, work full time and travel quite a bit.
Yes, the long term impact of being dialysis is felt from time to time in the form of co-morbidities of various types but those are not avoidable. I manage to deal with them in different ways.
Again, I cannot emphasise enough that each individual is different. You don’t need to be on daily nocturnal dialysis to be able to live long. There are many people who’ve lived longer than I have and are on thrice weekly dialysis at the hospital. This is just my experience.
The key, however is that the myth in India that you cannot live for long on dialysis is wrong and needs to be dispelled. Individuals can live long, happy, productive lives on dialysis. It’s only a question of how much you want it.