Sunday, July 22, 2012

Learning about Dialysis

I visited a dialysis center for the first time. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I was definitely nervous, but it was an important day for me. And it was completely humbling, since I was there with eight kids who showed a type of bravery and dignity that sometimes escapes me.

I was up in Flint visiting a Kids Camp put on by the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. The Foundation makes it possible for 25 kids with kidney disease to go to camp each summer, and I was there to see the camp in action. The kids who are on hemodialysis leave camp twice during the week for treatment.

What struck me:

  • The way the Davita staff interacted with the medical team from the camp -- a U-M doctor and a nurse from Children's Hospital of Detroit. They were true pros.  
  • The different vascular access points the kids had. There were arteriovenous fistulas, arteriovenous grafts and one venous catheter.
  • The way the kids knew the routine and could answer all of the questions the staff asked about their specific treatments. This center typically serves adults -- not kids -- but everyone collaborated beautifully so that these treatments could happen.

As I stood there and observed, my knees were a bit wobbly, and my breathing was shallow. I won't lie. I've been very afraid of dialysis. Will I ever need it? And if I do, what type of treatment would be best for me? I may never get to the point of needing to make those decisions, but if I do, I hope I handle it as well as those eight kids did. They reminded me that courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes, courage is quietly doing what you need to do, even though it's not all that fun.       


  1. What an amazing lesson from those so young! Am so glad you got to have this experience and know that when, and if, your turn comes to be brave you will find the strength to be brave too!!

    Love you xoxoxoxo

  2. Those kids probably have no idea what an inspiration they are. They are just living their lives, being kids. A good lesson for all of us. xoxoxo

  3. Wish I could have been there with you. So glad you were able to go and experience it.