How Tired Can Your Body Get With CKD?
Last updated: October 2023
When I see my son, the first words out of my mouth are, “how are you doing?” His response is always "I’m doing okay, just a little tired." He is living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is currently on dialysis.
A different kind of "tired"
We all get tired, but I wanted to understand more about his type of tiredness. Every day he takes over 20 pills and does dialysis for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. He’s asked his healthcare team if they could change some of the doses, but they say this is the best they can do for him.
One of his medications actually keeps him up at night, this can last for several days. When his body can’t take anymore, he just collapses. He said the feeling is more than just being a little tired, he’s exhausted. The doctor calls it medication tired.
He also has other issues, which play a factor in this. Along with anxiety and depression, it also affects his sleep pattern. It feels like he’s not getting enough air into his body at any given time. Of course, exercising and socializing are out the window sometimes. The thing that brings him to his knees is the cramps along with leg pain. He said it feels like someone is breaking his bones, it’s just that bad. There are nights when the cramps keep him up, causing him to be tired throughout the day.
Taking the time he needs to rest
He’s not a complainer, his body just doesn’t work well at times. We are all so thankful for his healthcare team who help him manage as much as they can. His doctor said he has chronic tiredness that will probably never go away. He has to take time to just rest.
My son opted to keep working because he has 3 children and a wife to take care of. There are days his breathing problems slow him down considerably and he must rest. He’s lucky that he has a good job where people understand, and he can work from home on some days if he choices too. It’s hard to finish chores that he starts but always gets to the finish line.
He is a very sociable person. But, with his family and a few close friends, he is much more likely to say, “I just don’t have the energy to do that at the moment.” That is a more truthful statement that I think he will need to use more frequently.
Managing more than one condition is so difficult
Dealing with one illness is enough but add on chronic kidney disease and it becomes frustrating. There are days that my son feels like his body is its own personal torture chamber. As a mom who has several chronic illnesses, I truly understand.
My son decided to invest in a more comfortable bed with expensive bedding. This actually helped him with the number of times he was getting up during the night. He makes sure his room is dark, quiet, and cool. This seems to help a lot.
We have both learned on this journey that you have to take it all in, balance things and then try to present yourself to the world that you are just as normal as they are. Which he is.
This or That
In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?
Do you have chronic kidney disease without any symptoms?