Most often when one is diagnosed with a Kidney Disease, it is assumed that the only thing they need is either a transplant or to be on dialysis but UTV’s Abigail Ashley who has been a kidney failure patient for more than a decade says that is not always the case.
According to her, the things they go through as patients require Mental Health Education as part of undergoing treatment and all that comes with stress on its own, “Doctors talk to you about dialysis as means of treatment or the transplant, but no one tells you the stress, the money and the time involved in the treatment of kidney disease. I tell you it’s very stressful, you sometimes get depressed, it’s mental torture,” she said.
Taking us through some of the things they go through when they go for their dialysis which requires they undergoing mental health education, she said, “Even to fix the line for dialysis is another issue, they start with the femoral on the thigh for a week or two which you will pay, then to the neckline which you will also pay, before they will tell you all these are all temporary you need a permanent fistula which comes with another payment. All these aside payments for labs, scans and other investigations.
However, on the part of the patients, she said, “Waking up three times every week making your way to Korle-Bu regardless of where you come from, you have to be there. And the reason is that there are limited machines in the country so you need to be there. Let’s talk about the queue you have to join before you are treated.
“Just visit Korle-Bu Renal Unit you will understand me better, people come from the Volta Region, Eastern Region etc for Clinic and those who unable to see the doctor or go through treatment have to sleep over in mosquitoes which can even cause another problem.”
She continued, “The frustration alone I believe is killing more patients than the disease its self. The death rate of kidney patients is very alarming. You can’t imagine loosing friends lying beside you every now and then, after spending so much. We are all humans, so definitely one may ask am I next? The treatment is very expensive. Some of us are Blessed to have the support of Despite and Special Group of Companies (Dr Osei Kwame Despite and his brother, Dr Ofori Sarpong’s) support but we still can’t keep still. Please help me say a big thank you to them, and May God continue to bless the works of their hands. I can’t imagine life without them. Let me take this opportunity to also thank Fadda Dickson, Chairman General Kwami Sefa Kyai and Kennedy Osei too for all their love and support”.
“The disease itself affects the way one thinks and feels plus the entire changes one’s body goes through, and with the addition of new instructions from physicians to follow, among other things I believe all CKD patients need to see a Psychologist, they need mental health Education. We are losing too much life especially the youth to CKD, let’s all come together to fight and protect our kidneys.
In an answer to what role she is playing in all this as an advocate of kidney protection, she said, “I’ve tried all these 12 years and still counting educating on protecting one’s kidneys for life, simple drinking of fresh clean water often to prevent dehydration, eating more fruits and vegetables daily, exercising 30 minutes every day, resting your body and souls and lastly keeping your environment and body clean.
“Having a regular check-up for early detection and treatment is paramount. Alcohol and smoking is not part of healthy living so you either reduce the intake or cut off from it, reduce your intake of salts, sugar, fatty foods and artificial spices. And for the CKD Patients they should relax, one day at a time, they should limit their water intake, protect themselves and keep smiling.”