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and I would still have long debriefs  Marie Mellon
        about the latest dialysis drama. This
        works both ways – despite being a
        long-term dialysis patient, Marie is still
        my mother, and can listen to my
        problems, even if she happens to be
        on dialysis at the time.

        LESSON 4: Trust the dialysis nurses
           Marie has been a patient of Mayo
        General Hospital since 1997, which
        means I’ve basically grown up with
        the staff in the renal unit.
           There have been days when we
        have been frustrated at the gruelling
        routine of dialysis, and Marie has been
        despondent and angry, but she
        tunnels through. On those days the
        dialysis nurses are a counsellor, nurse
        and support system all rolled into one.
        They have helped keep her alive and
        sane during the past fourteen years,
        and we’d be lost without them.

        LESSON 5: Appreciate the small things
           I have just turned 30, and I can’t
        comprehend what my mother had to
        cope with at my age. At 30, Marie
        had to give up a new life in Australia
        and return home to Ireland, to start a
        treatment that would continue for the
        next thirty years.
           Long-term dialysis limits her life
        hugely, but every day enjoyed is
        another victory.
           Despite not being able to eat that
        meal or have that drink, and facing
        dialysis the next morning, Marie is   And even if that call never comes,
        always the life and soul of every family  we still have hope for the future.         DIALYSIS IS ALL
                                              Without the immense kindness of
        wedding, tearing up the dance floor  one in 1995, life would be very “
        and belting out Tina Turner until the  two donor families, one in 1990 and        CONSUMING, BOTH
        small hours!
           The Irish Kidney Association has  different now.
        allowed her to enjoy some sense of    Mum didn’t think she would see                PHYSICALLY AND
        normality and still appreciate a    sixty years of age, and now we are
        holiday, something we thought       looking forward at seventy. According     EMOTIONALLY. WE ALL
        wouldn’t be possible.               to the Guinness Book of Records, a
           With the help of the IKA, she has  Croatian man by the name of Muris        KNOW THAT THE SIDE
        travelled to the Dialysis and Transplant  Mujčić spent 41 years, 112 days on
        Games in Slovenia in 2007 (and won  dialysis, so we joke that Mum has a     EFFECTS AND LIFESTYLE
        medals!), Lourdes, Majorca, Portugal,  long way to go yet, and will outlive us
        Spain, and closer to home can enjoy a  all!                                         RESTRICTIONS OF
        weekend in Tralee in the IKA holiday  Despite everything we’ve gone
        home.                               through, we still consider ourselves  DIALYSIS ARE MANY, AND
                                            very lucky. Life on dialysis isn’t the
        LESSON 6: Always stay optimistic    ideal solution, but we have made our  THINGS OTHERS TAKE FOR
           Maybe, just maybe, a miracle may  peace with our altered normality, and
        occur, and lucky transplant number  continue to enjoy each day as it
        three might come along. Mum jokes   comes. The overall message is that
        that she hasn’t eaten a banana in 30  every day it is just good to put your
        years, of all the things she would do  feet on the floor, a smile on your face  POSSIBLE FOR A PERSON
        after a transplant, the first thing she  and make the best of family and    GRANTED ARE JUST NOT“
        would eat after a transplant would be  friends.                                ON DIALYSIS.???????
        a banana sandwich!                    Carpe Diem.

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