Hello, I'm Kamal from Hyderabad, India. I have been on dialysis for the last 13 years, six of them on PD, the rest on hemo. I have been on daily nocturnal home hemodialysis for the last four and half years. I can do pretty much everything myself. I love to travel and do short weekend trips or longer trips to places which have dialysis centers. Goa in India is a personal favorite. It is a great holiday destination and has two very good dialysis centers.
The dosas in Karnataka are very different from those served in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Karnataka dosas are much thicker than those served in AP or TN. Despite this, they are crisp on the outside and very soft on the inside. I wonder how they manage that.
A few months back, when I went to Bangalore, I got a chance to sample divinity in the form of Idlis at Brahmin's Coffee Bar at Sankarapuram. This time my friend Sandeep suggested I try Vidyarthi Bhavan at Gandhi Bazaar. I secretly wished I could do both but time is never your friend on a trip as rushed as this. So, I reached Vidyarthi Bhavan around 8:45 in the morning and found myself in a place that had a sparse setting.
I settled down on a table which had a couple of other strangers already munching away greedily on some crisp, deep brown dosas. Recounting everything that I ended up eating would be gross. Suffice it to say that I had at least one dosa. It was truly heavenly. Thick like a genuine Kannadiga Dosa (if there ever was such a thing!). Crisp, deep brown on the outside, very soft on the inside, practically soaked in ghee! They served only one chutney with it. No sambar. That was a message basically to focus on the dosa! I did not complain.
As I left, I looked back at the spartan hall of Vidyarthi Bhavan. I couldn't help remark to myself, "Truly, it is in places such as these that India resides."
At one point, I started ordering medicines for the entire month. I would open this plastic box and then lay out all the remaining strips and then calculate the number of each tablet I needed, write it on a piece of paper and give it to my dad who would have the whole lot brought. Mostly, unless there was a change in prescription or I calculated wrong (which rarely happened!), I would be good until the beginning of the next month.
However, sometimes, I would get delayed in my stock checking exercise and this would result in me running out of a medicine suddenly and then frantic phone calls to my dad.
The first time I saw a pill box being used in India was when my aunt bought one for my grandmother who being diabetic, took a lot of pills as well. She kept forgetting her meds and this helped her never miss her dose. Great idea, I thought!
At Aashayein last year, we gave out pill boxes to all the patients and I took one for myself as well. Ever since then I have been sitting every Sunday morning after my customary visit to Poorna Tiffins and refilling my pill box. It has 21 sections for seven days a week, three compartments for each day - for morning, afternoon and night.
This has helped greatly. It serves two purposes. One, I need to remember or refer to my prescription just once a week while filling. And two, when I am going to run out of a med, I know on Sunday morning itself rather than in the middle of the week and I can make arrangements immediately to get them.
Here is my pill box after I filled out this week's medicines:
I honestly don't need any randomized control trial to tell me that daily nocturnal dialysis or more frequent, longer duration dialysis is better or not better for me. I have lived it, goddamn it! If it wasn't for daily nocturnal, I would have been dead long back. I simply could not work full time or live a normal life on conventional dialysis. Yes there are people who do. But sorry, I cannot!
And isn't it logical? Dialysis replaces kidney function. Kidneys work 24x7. So, you should get as much dialysis as you possibly can. Why is it so difficult to see? The study judges the subjects on numbers - a common mistake many researchers make. Numbers don't mean everything. The subjects who were given more frequent dialysis said they felt better. But this factor was ignored and condemned as 'perceived'. So what the subjects felt was simply what they perceived. What the numbers showed was the ultimate truth!
I do not care for such studies personally but I am worried about the people who will stay away from such great therapies by looking at such studies and be deprived of a chance at a normal life.
Finding your calling really makes you feel good. You look forward to your day. Life becomes a pleasure. Since most of our waking hours are spent working, it is extremely important that we do what we enjoy doing and what we feel satisfied with.
When you are working on something you do not truly love and are working on it simply for the money you are making, life becomes a chore, a burden, something you are doing day after day without really living it.
Your calling does not always have to be something spiritual - a higher good. It can be material. To me, it is doing what you enjoy doing the most. For example, I know that music is Timothy Marthand's calling, developing software is Kartik Thum's calling and painting is Venkateswara Rao's calling.
My calling came to me in the form of an email from Vikram Vuppala with the subject "Request for a brief meeting". Vikram had chanced upon my blog and then sent me an email asking to meet up. At that time, of course, I was firmly into software and had no inkling of how this was going to take over my life. I actually thought I would grow old banging away at the keyboard churning out software code! It started with one small step - informal advice. I slowly started enjoying it so much that I took up a formal role and now am doing this full time.
I often think what my calling would be had I not fallen sick? I feel it would be something to do with food!
There are many people who can go through life without ever finding their calling. That is a real pity. There are some websites that give advice on how to find your true calling. I am not sure that is a good way to do this. I believe that if it is a true calling, it will itself come calling! Like mine did!
This works, trust me!
Ever since I stopped swimming due to the infamous Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, I have been bad at exercising. I started walking close to home every day but ended up stopping that as well. There would be some reason or the other. No time. Have a cough. Need to rush to work. Did not dialyze yesterday, so have extra fluid in my body, so cannot exercise. I would use a new excuse everyday to not exercise and all of them worked!
Then yesterday I met a friend over dinner. The topic of discussion moved to exercise and eating habits. I started lecturing him on the importance of exercise, about how thirty minutes every day could save him from heart disease. A little into the conversation it struck me. Was I exercising? Oops!
This morning when I woke up, I had all the excuses ready. I had a sore throat. I had to rush to work. I did not dialyze yesterday. But I made a firm decision. No matter what, I was going to do something today. I went for a walk despite all the odds. At the end of it, I felt really good and decided to continue this no matter what!