The year was 2000; I was 20 years old. I had just completed my second year BCom and was visiting my maternal uncle. Within four days, I developed high fever, shivering and high BP. Following a blood test, urine test, chest X-ray, and abdomen sonography, the GP advised that I be taken to a hospital immediately. There was pus and blood in the urine, swelling in the kidney and heart. I was admitted to Hinduja hospital, Mumbai under nephrologist Dr. Sirsat. Since I was young, she felt I would recover with medication. I was prescribed medication and discharged in a week. My creatinine level was 3.5 then; however, it slowly started to rise and I was hospitalized for a kidney biopsy, which revealed glomerulonephritis. This indicated that I might require Dialysis in 1-2 years’ time, if the creatinine could not be controlled with medication. New medications were prescribed, salt and liquid intake restrictions were explained, and I was discharged. I managed to clear my third year BCom in spite of my deteriorating health.
My parents, who were concerned about my health, advised me against working. But I took up a job since I wanted to be financially independent. Within two months, my diet and restrictions had gone out of control, as had my creatinine. I was admitted to the hospital with swelling in my feet, breathlessness, and high BP. I got a renal profile test done, and met nephrologist Dr. Rekha Dubey. She advised immediate initiation of dialysis, which was done by inserting a catheter in my neck. Now it has been 18 years since I began Hemodialysis.
My parents could not afford the increasing expense of Dialysis, and the salary from my new job was insufficient to cover even a quarter of the expenses. It was my uncle who took on the financial burden, since dialysis was my only option. Transplant was a distant dream, since my parents could not be donors, both being BP patients, and we did not want to register for a cadaver, fearing infection and rejection. This fear was perhaps due to our lack of information, since cadaver transplant is the best option for a patient who does not have a related donor. Since then, my parents have never allowed me to work. They insisted I lead a happy, healthy and relaxed life. With no job and no finance, I couldn’t even start a business, but I managed to stay healthy and positive, with my uncle taking care of all my medical expenses. After my parents expired (mother in 2008, father in 2013), my uncle also retired, and could no longer support my medical needs.
Since then, I am staying alone. My efforts to find a job have proved fruitless with no qualification, or experience, and my medical background which keeps me out of action. I have been left with no choice but to seek support from various Trusts, Organizations, NGO’s, friends and relatives to cover my dialysis expenses. It is extremely painful and disheartening to live off donations and generosity of people. However, as they say, Life is a Gift of God, and every struggle I encounter, I try to overcome with the Faith that all will be well. My sincere advice to all young patients is to get a good education, find a job, and try to be financially independent. Our parents always mean well and do what’s best for us; however, to be dependent on someone completely is best avoided.
My Mantra is simple: I try to face whatever comes in life with a positive attitude!