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Revisiting a Dialysis Center After 11 Years of Transplant Living

February 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 88

I didn't expect it-the smell. The extreme smell of disinfectant and bleach, the quiet coming and going of staff and patients. The dialysis center. I hadn't been inside a dialysis center for nearly 11 years, when I was on peritoneal dialysis or PD as those of us in the "Kidney World" call it. I agreed to participate in a study for the National Kidney Foundation as a peer mentor talking with dialysis patients. I am a certified peer mentor, however this study required additional training and all through the training I was excited to participate. The study's hypothesis is something I believe in and feel strongly will be successful. Even though I am a peer mentor, much of my work promoting organ donation has been at speaking engagements, church functions and during book signings. So I really hadn't been back to a dialysis center until today.

I was glad that the social worker and National Kidney Foundation representative met with me in the conference room first. I needed a minute to collect myself. It is not that I was afraid or changed my mind about volunteering; I just didn't anticipate the reaction of a negative déjÃvu.

After our discussion about how the day would go, I gowned up to meet my patients. I remember that when I was on dialysis, I was afraid of what would happen next... after dialysis. And if I didn't do anything today, I wanted the people that I met to know that there can be a successful life after dialysis. With that mantra, my nervousness about the bleach that I smelled turned into eagerness to meet new friends.

My afternoon was spent meeting very interesting people. I interrupted one lady from her portable DVD player that she brought to watch a movie. We talked about how smart that idea was to pass the time away. I even suggested to her that bringing a laptop if possible, would allow her to write-either to chronicle her experiences or to dream up a fantastic work of fiction. Another gentleman took me through all four of his children, where they went to school, their majors, where they now work, whether they were married and if they gave him grandchildren!

Sometimes when we get caught up with disease, illness and chronic conditions, we forget about the interesting and complex lives that people live. I shared and they shared. I think we had a good day. I'll be back in a couple weeks and look forward to building the relationships I created today. Although I'm the mentor presumably offering information and ways to make it successfully through dialysis, I feel like I'm the one who benefited from today's activities.

Jacquie Lewis-Kemp Author of Blessed Assurance: Success Despite the Odds An inspirational story of LIVING life with diabetes and organ transplants rather than LIMITING life because of them. Contributing author of Victorious Living for Women Visit for more information or to purchase books. Follow me on Facebook at!/jacquie.lewiskemp

Source: EzineArticles
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Article Tags:

Dialysis Center


Peer Mentor


National Kidney Foundation


Jacquie Lewis Kemp


Peritoneal Dialysis

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