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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Being there

Yesterday, I received a Facebook message from a colleague who just underwent a kidney transplant through Philhealth's Z-package. He said to me that I could already visit him. I was glad to see that message because for one, it meant that my friend is already OK and number two, I always wondered how it is to be a kidney transplant patient a few days post-surgery and here I am with a patient who is already day 4 post-operatively who is apparently doing well.

I went to the hospital and asked from the public assistance desk as to where the transplant unit is located. I eventually reached the unit and knocked at the door. Opening the door was a nurse assigned specifically to the unit. He gave me a mask and slippers to wear. I stayed in the waiting area which served as the sala, kitchen and dining area also. Adjacent to it is the actual room of my friend who was already seated on that room's sofa looking very good already. You would not know from his appearance that he underwent surgery. I said to myself, "So this is where I will stay when I will be lucky to have a kidney transplant!" We talked with me staying in the waiting area.

My friend shared to me his journey toward a transplant which was full of ups and downs, denials, depression and sometimes tears. He said it helped that along the way, he learned that he was not alone and that there are others like me who also have kidney disease which have "adjusted". With the transplant, he realized there are still so many good people and also he took God for granted in the past. And now seeing me, he felt it was his duty now to inspire others, fellow kidney patients to be positive. Without him knowing it, he is actually starting to fulfill his advocacy by talking to me. He is being there for me at that point. He was helping me in a way.

His younger sister is also being there for him. She donated her kidney without my friend asking her to do so. And his siblings were equally supportive of him helping him cope with his condition as well as raise money. According to him, his friends (also including those not expected to help) came out and supported him and he was very grateful.

It really helps patients like me to have someone to talk to who can relate to your condition. Soon we will be forming a support group within our dialysis facility. I already started to make a Facebook group which is open to all Filipino Kidney patients which can act as an online support group. In there, people can exchange experiences not just regarding their illness but also sharing ways to get aid from PCSO and other agencies.

Knowing that people are there for you is like medicine for patients like me. There are many ways to show kidney patients that you are there for them. As simple as a Facebook like is already big enough, what more if it's voluntary donating one's kidney to a one needing it to extend his life. Like many others, I am still in need of a kidney especially that relatives from my mother's side cannot donate because PKD runs in the family. I have B+ blood and as of the moment, CMV negative.

While waiting for a kidney donor, I have been blessed with many supportive friends and relatives. The support has kept me alive and I intend to pass on the support by being there for my fellow kidney patients.

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