Saturday, 10 September 2016

Organ Donation Week 2016

As it's Organ Donation Week (previously known as National Transplant Week) I was thinking about what my life would be like if I hadn't been fortunate enough to have my kidney transplant in 2008.

I would have been on dialysis for 12 years. Dialysis options have improved significantly in 8 years so some of these thoughts may be unfounded. Also, at the time, I had some good friends at the hospital who made the sessions a little more bearable. And you have to make the best of whatever life throws at you.
No allotment - Eurgh! Imagine that. As a dialysis patient the idea of digging an allotment would not have entered my head! Everything we've learned, grown, seen on the plot over the last 7 years wouldn't have happened!

Blogging - I only started the blog as a record of what we were doing on the allotment. Now if I ever have to return to dialysis (fingers crossed that never happens) I might blog about it, but it would be a bit dull, with no nice photos (like this post!)
Food - the strict dialysis diet makes food rather dull and kidney failure impacts on appetite anyway. My (slightly)  increased interest in cooking has only been as a result of growing our own.
Vegetables Only small amounts were advised - a bit tricky when you're a vegetarian, but my appetite was so small anyway. Fresh vegetables are too high in potassium so kidney patients have to over-over-cook them. For example, potatoes had to be double-boiled and the boiled-out nutrients washed down the sink.
Buglife - we've always enjoyed nature but having the allotment and the energy to work on it has provided the close access to interesting creatures that was missing from our lives since we moved to the flat without a garden.
Social life - we wouldn't have met and made friends with our lovely fellow plotholders. The allotment has opened up this side of our life in Hungerford. We'd probably still be more into computers and gaming. Of course, there's nothing with that, but real world is good too.
Sleeping - All the hours we spend on the plot would probably be spent sleeping. Dialysis cleans the blood but the tiredness remains.
Time off - I always treated dialsysis sessions (4 hours at the hospital every other day) like a job - but a job with no annual leave and no extended Christmas or Bank Holidays. And no sick days.
Holidays away - we first visited Tenerife while I was on haemodialysis, so it's definitely possible, but I certainly don't think we'd be having an annual holiday. It's more involved to arrange dialysis sessions away, locations are restricted and it's more expensive for insurance
Lethargy I'm certain that I wouldn't be learning spanish and wouldn't have taken on my new job. The inspiration to do new things isn't there when you're waiting for your next dialysis session, waiting for a hospital appointment, waiting for the call..
These are a few of my reasons why I see organ donation as 'a gift of life'. I wouldn't be dead without a new kidney but my life would be significantly limited.
Please have the conversation with your loved ones.



  1. The bleak reality has been very succinctly put in your blog Belinda. How I have loved to read about your allotment and of course it inspired me. Continued good health, good eating and good gardening to you.

    1. Thanks! So glad you started your Freshwinds blog too!
      Hopefully nothing will get in our way - housing developers or ill health!


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