There are five stages in kidney disease and in the fifth stage dialysis may be suggested by a health care provider. The five stages are described here and are determined from a blood test which measures creatinine levels. The alternative to dialysis is to wait for a kidney transplant. Some people have a second choice – to face the rest of the life knowing that their kidneys are no longer functioning properly. Which is alright too because it is the cycle of life. If life has been generally good, then it may be time to prepare to say goodbye with dignity and with a smile. It may be fabulous to check out the movie, “The Bucket list” and enjoy the last few years (in some cases it maybe months) doing all you have always wanted to do and eat all you have always wanted to eat.
What if you choose not to have dialysis? You die naturally with a build up of toxins.
What if you choose to have dialysis? You die from a heart attack or from an infection.
Life expectancy is extended with dialysis in 1 out of 4 people in the oldest age group, with a dialysis program of 5 hours a day, every other day and restricted diet (Author: Comfort Care Choices). A much younger, healthier person may be offered a kidney transplant option and then dialysis is ended.
What is life? Life is about looking around you with amazement and wondering how every one of us lives, breathes and exists in the same space, with the same atmospheric elements and yet, each one is so unique. Well, that unique life has a beginning, a middle and an end. When others depend on us, it is valuable to take good care of our health. When, we begin to depend on others to continue living, then the real questions begin. When does one draw the line on extending existence with artificial living features, such as dialysis? Is it life? When does one say good bye with dignity? Would it not be more fun to choose a ‘do it all’ attitude instead of a fearful, prolonged extension of life with an artificial heart pumping, steel replacing are hinges, stem cells replacing our organs, etc. When do we say enough is enough?
I would advise to frankly ask your doctor questions that are important to you. Do you want to live forever and finances is not an issue? Then, say that. If you want to have least number of artificial factory built structures keeping you alive and sometimes, keeping you alive but bedridden, then say that. Be honest with yourself. Do you have money to spend on simply breathing, even if bedridden or do you have money to spend the last few years of your ‘walking’ life seeing new places or simply watching your neighbors children playing on the riverside (if your own live far away). Once you know how you want your own life to look like for the rest few years, then approach your doctor to ask about the dialysis program. The truth will set you free!
Anyway, I will continue to update you about kidney disease, dialysis and diet (to prolong life). Your comments are appreciated to let me know if I should continue on certain topics. Would you choose life with or without dialysis?