In Saturday’s British Medical Journal, Nicholas Evans author of the best selling novel ‘The Horse Whisperer’ and Renata Carey each provided a commentary of their experience with dialysis. In Nicholas’ case, he also describes the emotional challenges and transformational benefit of receiving a kidney from his daughter.
Both accounts should become compulsory reading for anyone wanting to understand kidney care, and the importance of humanity in end stage renal failure management. Nicholas’ story is dramatic, one might say the stuff novels are made of- mushroom poisoning in Scotland that left his wife and himself prostrate. “We had black diarrhoea and nausea and wretched every few minutes until all that came was blood and bile”. Both had irrecoverable acute kidney injury causing sudden onset end stage renal failure. The narrative is eloquent and moving as befits Nicholas’ profession.
In the commentary on Renata’s story Mark Harber, consultant renal physician at the Royal Free Hospital notes that diabetes and hypertension are very common causes of chronic kidney disease and renal failure, and that thousands of patients with diabetes and renal impairments will echo Renatas’ history.
Lets leave Renata with the last word: “To summarise: dialysis is brilliant, of course, but deeply horrendous. The people running it must be selected for heart, intelligence, and imagination. Above all they need heart and humanity”