When A Loved One Gets Diagnosed With Chronic Kidney Disease
Last updated: March 2023
When my baby boy, who was 40 at the time, told me he was in chronic kidney failure, I didn’t know how to handle it. He had a wife and three children to take care of. How was he going to take care of them? I felt this would destroy his life.
I didn't know what to say
At first, I didn’t know what to do or what to say. Every time I would talk to him, he was always so upbeat and positive. He had decided that he wasn’t going to go into a center 3 times a week for dialysis. So, he had the surgery where they put a hose in him so he could take at home dialysis. This scared me even more.
But I had to realize that he was doing what was best for him and his family. When you love someone with CKD, it’s hard to know how to help them. As a mother I wanted to be supportive, but I didn’t have a clue how to help. I felt like I was failing him as a mother.
It has been 5 years since he was diagnosed. He’s been on dialysis a few years. I didn’t want to seem like a needy mother smothering him. I understood that he had enough on his plate already. I try not to bring up the subject of his illness in every conversation, but this is the first thing out of my mouth. I ask how he’s doing and start talking about the grandkids in the same sentence.
Being a caregiver can be overwhelming
His grandfather also has CKD. He is 88 years old, but not on dialysis. I am his caregiver, so my son gives me plenty of diet tips for him also. My father likes eating out, but really doesn’t like healthy foods. I feel at his age, he can eat whatever he wants. I know everyone is not going to agree with me on this one, but that’s another story.
As a caregiver, managing medications can be overwhelming. I have to monitor my father very closely. My son has this under control, as he has a team of doctors. Managing your medication is very important with this illness. I have to set up pill boxes because of so many pills my father has to take. I try to schedule a set time each day so we all can be on the same page.
I know that all of you understand that having this illness is not easy to manage. Although my son would say, "I got this." He still works a full-time job and never complains. I have learned that my role is to be supportive, both emotionally and mentally. Do whatever you can to make your loved one’s life easier for them, no matter what.
Doing my CKD homework
One thing I did for myself was to really understand what the kidneys actually do. I knew that they filter out stuff, but that was it. I have been doing my homework for years now and have a much better understanding.
I do want to say that learning about CKD inspires me to help others with this illness in their efforts to live a better life. Don’t be a stranger, come on back. We have a lot more to share and talk about on this subject.
Is exercise an important part of your CKD management?