For the last couple of weeks, I have needed to pick Gail up at dialysis on Tuesdays and Thursdays. After fretting a good bit, I decided I could get by with a little help from my friends. So I sent an email out to the usual suspects, and asked if they could pick me up at work on one of the days and drive me to Watsonville to get Gail. As you would imagine, the response was whole-hearted and enthusiastic. I had five or six people to choose from for every day. I managed to schedule it so no one had to do it more than once. And I tried to give the people who drove me a nice jar of plum/strawberry jam to thank them.
It has been quite lovely, actually. It is always about 45 minutes transit time, and I rarely get 45 minutes to just chat with people. So I have enjoyed the drive itself.
I always invite people in to see Gail. I think she likes seeing them; it's boring sitting in the dialysis room. I also like for people to know where it is and how to get her, in case we ever need to ask them for help again. At the same time I want to demystify the dialysis process, I also want people to know that this is a serious and sort of dangerous activity. I want them to understand that this is more than just sitting in an easy chair reading a book or knitting for three hours. Their responses have been interesting to watch.
One friend said that she didn't need to go in again. She had picked Gail up before, and she finds it depressing. Not Gail...Gail is fine. But the other folks, who are much sicker than Gail. She didn't have a need to see them again.
Another couple of friends were real sports and came into the treatment room even though they are uncomfortable with medical stuff. They talked a few minutes, eyes wide, and then said they would go save us a table for dinner at an adjoining restaurant.
Another friend who has kidney failure in her family came in and sat and talked with Gail, and was interested in the process. Another one was talking and suddenly said with a start, "Oh wow, I just realised that that is Gail's blood going through there!"
I think it is a real gift that our friends are willing to share the reality of dialysis with us, even just for a brief visit.