By Bill Peckham
The short answer is: I've been working. I've kept my insurance coverage current since I returned to a focus on work in 2010. I feel stronger, healthier than I did three years ago; my grip strength is better; I'm happier in the sense of being more satisfied with life. I now see my work as a marathon. A marathon is 26.2 miles; I'll need 26 years of work to retire with a pension. That sounds like a lot but I already have 18 years of work behind me, so I'm at mile 18 with 8 tough miles to go but I think I'll finish. I'll work my way into a pension entirely while using hemodialysis. (Unless I am transplanted? Still not on the list but I would never say never!)
Dialyzing at home over night, while I sleep continues to work well for me. Frequent nocturnal dialysis is by far the least burdensome treatment I've had during my entire 25 years with CKD stage 5. I could not do my job if I was using any other form of hemodialysis. I spend about four or five hours a week futzing with my treatment, four or five hours of awake time. It works great for me and frustrates, angers me that access to this categorically less burdensome treatment is limited in this country by zip code and paternalistic habits of care.
The sad news is I had to say goodbye to Cairny, my nearly thirteen-year-old Australian Shepherd last August after about 10 months of diminishing health. He followed Brainy, the Aussie that came into my life 5 months before my transplant in 1988. The fact is I have to have an Aussie and am now living with Banjo a ten month old black tri Aussie (BTW, Banjo is the type of fabric we use in tradeshows to delineate booths). Cairny was a swimmer, we went swimming many times together, and as of Sunday Banjo is a swimmer, so I am looking forward to a wet summer.
Speaking of getting wet - I'm rafting the Colorado RIver through 220 miles of the Grand Canyon from July 3rd through July 10th. Eight days, seven nights, four dialysis treatments. I'll start posting updates and ultimately trip reports on DSEN. The Grand Canyon, rafting the Grand Canyon, is something I would point to as a limitation of dialysis - I can go to Europe, but rafting the Grand Canyon is out. I had a chance to raft the Canyon the summer I was 15 but turned it down for stupid kid reasons. I've always taken that as a life lesson, take opportunities when they come because another chance is never promised.
Never promised but occasionally you do get another chance.