I would like for you to think with me, do you remember taking a family vacation or trip and within about 15-20 minutes of the trip you would ask are we there yet and your parents answer would come back not, yet we just started and every, so often you would ask the same question until you had finally arrived at your destination. As a child, many times, we may have been impatient because we wanted to get to our next destination. Being a dialysis patient and waiting on a transplant, sometime you may ask the same question. Am I there yet?
Waiting for something as life changing as a transplant can be painstakingly slow and can be easy to be inpatient waiting for a kidney transplant. I have said many times that dialysis is the training ground for many that seek a Kidney transplant. Why is this, you may ask?
Dialysis teaches one lesson for all that have to sit in the classroom to learn, and that lesson is learning to be patient.
Going to dialysis is more than just going in, sitting in a chair for 20 or 30 minutes and treatment would be over. Most treatments for an In-Center Hemodialysis patient last about 4 hours. Once you are hooked to the machine, you need to stay in that chair for the full time to receive the best treatment possible so that you could feel your best and be ready to grab your dream. There a few times I would look at the clock after what felt like forever and realized that only 15 minutes had passed. If I had made this a habit instead of keeping my eye on the goal of finishing my treatment, discouragement would set in, and I would want to come off the machine early. Which would not have been in my best interest and I would have paid dearly for leaving treatment early. (If I would not have had my full treatment I would have gained fluid and well I would have cramped. Check out “Tuna Sub of Consequences” for more information.)
So what does dialysis and waiting on a transplant have in common? They both teach patience. If you are on the transplant list it can take up to 1-13 years and for some even longer. Now there are some ways to receive a kidney faster, by advocating for yourself. But even then it still takes time. I remember when I started dialysis. The nephrologist set up my transplant appointment and I went to start the process. I was hoping that they would say when I got there that they had a kidney for me, but of course this was not the case. They instead started to do some test to see if I was a good candidate and then gave me a wait time of 5-9 years unless I had a living donor step up which could cut my wait quite a bit.
Did I learn how to be patient, you ask? Well, while I still do not claim to be the master of being patient, here are some of the lessons that helped me on my journey and still help me today.
- I am one treatment closer to my transplant.- I got in the habit of saying this at the end of every treatment. Even though I did not have a donor and still had a few years on the waitlist, it still was true that treatment was one less that I had to do.
- Take time to smell the roses.- This is kind of ironic, right. Well, think about how many times we get in a hurry to get our answer or achieve that dream we are working towards. Many times we don’t take time to smell the roses and enjoy the small things of life. They are there so that we don’t get bored on our journey.
- Keep your eye on the goal.- This is an important part of learning how to be patient. If you get your eye off the goal, no matter how far you are away from it. You will stray away from the path and will be further away from your desired results. No matter what, you must keep your eye and mind on the goal.
Yes, both dialysis and waiting on a transplant taught me how to be more patient. Even though this was not the easiest way to learn this valuable trait, it is still a lesson I cherish. So next you ask Am I there yet? Remember these lessons for I believe they will help you on your journey.
Until next be encouraged for you are one step closer to the next peak.