Dialysis – A Personal Take

Dialysis – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Everyone should watch this. Why? Because someone you love is either on or will need dialysis in your lifetime. Period. Also, it helps to understand how healthcare in this country is for profit, patients are reduced to potential profits, and this is evil. I don’t care what your political leanings are, it is evil.
At this time I am not a kidney patient nor have I needed dialysis, but I’m learned in the process and the impact it has on the lives of patients. Julie, my late wife, lost both of her kidneys and required dialysis three times a week due to polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary condition. By the time we got together she already knew her diagnosis and both of us had to learn this process and to navigate the world of renal healthcare. It is frustrating, annoying, heartbreaking, and at times scary, but the only course of action for most in our country.
Part of me wants to launch into a rant about the various clinics and doctors we dealt with over the course of my late partner’s care, but this would do a disservice to the scores of people we encountered who actually did put the patient and their care first. Those people do exist, even in our broken system, and they were a light and aided us more times than I care to recount. Those people truly do provide care while so many are in the industry simply to make a hefty paycheck.
What I will say is to repeat something we learned and Julie took to heart, pressing it upon any others she came in contact with about her disease and healthcare: When it comes to your health, you are your best advocate. This system puts profit over patients and ties the hands of its practitioners. While we rely on these doctors and nurses and specialists to diagnose and treat us, it is also imperative we research, study, learn, and be responsible for our own health. This will require you to read, watch videos, maybe attend a lecture – do it. Do not take anyone’s word for anything and if you feel a second or third or fourth opinion is needed, get one. If you feel a provider, be it doctor, nurse, tech, or whomever, is being complacent or shady SPEAK UP. Again, there are many who put your care first, but too many who show up to collect a check, including doctors. Be aware and learned of your situation.
Healthcare is a touchy subject for me and perhaps I’m jaded due to living through too many horrors, but I don’t feel I’ve spoken out of turn or said anything untrue. This based on my experience watching my best friend and partner languish in our corrupt healthcare system and dealing with the aftermath.
Just be vigilant, remain aware, and take care of yourself. You are your own front line when it comes to your health.

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