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Caregivers Making a Difference

Caregivers Making a Difference

You ARE Making a Difference!
In a recent edition of the Heartland Kidney Network Patient Newsletter, patients were offered a chance to nominate an outstanding staff member at their dialysis unit or transplant facility. The letter included in this article arrived, and the Network thought it was appropriate to share it with the entire renal community to show just how much a difference that you make in the lives of the patients that you see. Sometimes it only takes a kind smile and a few minutes of your undivided attention to turn a patient's attitude around. Thank you for what you do!

Note: Identifying information has been removed from this letter.

Dear Heartland Kidney Network,

Three years ago, could have and should have been the end of my life. As sick as I was feeling in full blown renal failure, I remember thinking that there are worse things than dying. I truly believed this. I was given an emergency catheter hanging from my neck into my chest, I was also scheduled for surgery to receive a fistula-of course I said “WHAT?”.

My caregiver arrived soon after hearing the words catheter, fistula, dialysis and renal failure. I told them that over on the cabinet, there is a 2” folder of reading material on dialysis, fistula, diet, and a schedule of the 3 days a week I would be getting dialysis. I then told them that after reading all of this material that they would know nothing more about dialysis then they did before they read it. After leaving them be to read, they told me they had read the material over and over and then agreed.

After arriving at the dialysis center on a Tuesday early morning, we both sat in the lobby watching people coming through the door with bag in hand, we patiently waited, both of us very quiet with our thoughts in check. When a person with a very big smile came to us and could read our thoughts and watch our expressions. After admitting me to the dialysis schedule I had to sign many authorization forms and got an explanation about the different needles (sharp, blunt, button holes), diet, the weight loss and gain, etc.

I knew that when I came through that door wanting to live and not die, I began to again believe death would not be so bad. Now I must tell you what turned the tables or I should say WHO, was the administrator of the unit. They talked with both of us about what our part in living a full productive life would be if we did what was asked of us. She/he and their wonderful team all played a most important part in making our lives seem like we were their only patients and they gave us the utmost attention.

Now we know they had many other patients but they made us feel like we were the one and only. There was never a time that any of them wouldn’t have taken their time to answer our questions and there was not any of our questions that were treated as if we asked a stupid question. Due to these staff members, I will live as I am today and continue living, (what they actually told us three years ago)!

To live a full productive life as a 70+ year old with full renal failure with being a diabetic, I never dread dialysis; I only look forward to dialysis and the years it has added to my life. Thank you for making my life whole.

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