Easier said than done, she had received dialysis treatment for twenty years.

No vascular access for hemodialysis.

Her daughter narrated the process quite sentimentally: “This disease stole my mother from me. She got sick when I was eight. Since then she got involved in my life only intermittently. I started to realize the extent of time stolen from us by this disease as I got older and became self-aware. The time lost in dialysis, the time she spent in the hospital due to health problems related to dialysis treatment, they all make me think that the life owes me too much.”

When we first met her mother, she was worn and torn, exhausted by twenty years of dialysis treatment, with no vascular access for hemodialysis. All veins in her arms were gone, it was no longer possible to insert a catheter into her neck or through the groin. She had also lost the chance to receive peritoneal dialysis treatment through her abdomen. The AV fistula made on her arm through vascular surgery didn’t seem to last much longer.

Her daughter says, “I want to give her a kidney”.

Remember the story of the patient who was complaining about taking hemodialysis treatment? Now, here we have a patient who desperately says, “I wish I had vascular access for hemodialysis”. She only wishes for vascular access, so she could receive dialysis treatment, not much of a wish, eh? She just says, “Please find me vascular access for dialysis.”

She doesn’t say “What kind of an irresponsible society is this, they condemned me to this miserable situation.” She is not furious, she still has a smile on her face. She had spent her last twenty years living with a machine, but she is not furious at all. She doesn’t complain.

She merely says, “Sir, there is a vein here, why don’t you give it a try, wouldn’t it work?”

Her daughter says, “I want to give her a kidney”.

The mother firmly objects “No”.

“I grew up with this dialysis treatment, I want to solve this problem now. This disease stole my mother from me in my childhood, I can’t stand this any longer…”

I say, “Well, actually vascular access problem is a special case. We can notify the National Coordination Center for an emergency kidney transplant.”

“Sir, how long will it take, can my mother survive that long?”

“We shall do our best, we might solve this problem through kidney donation if we receive a reply soon.”

I am anxious because of the possibility to operate a patient whose body was exhausted by the end of twenty years. Her blood pressure is so low that we cannot even predict how her heart might react to anesthesia. We examine the patient, run some tests and then make an emergency call for a kidney. A committee reviews our call for eligibility. We are waiting curiously in excitement.

We finally receive a reply: Our emergency call was found to be “appropriate and eligible”. The clock starts to tick, we can get a donated kidney any minute to make the transplant. But we don’t leave it up to chance. We run tests for her daughter without telling the mother. We will get a kidney from the daughter if we do not get a donated kidney from the system soon enough. The clock is ticking, we feel like we are living through a thriller movie.

We receive a call from the National Coordination Center, they have found a suitable kidney. We prepare the patient for surgery. We start as soon as the kidney arrives at the hospital.

We start incision process on a body which has been exhausted as a result of 20 years of dialysis treatment, like airing a grievance. Her blood pressure, which is already low, drops even more during the operation giving us a hard time. My anesthesiologist advises me after the surgery, that we better took the patient to the intensive care unit before waking her up due to her low blood pressure. I say “OK”. We take the patient to the intensive care unit. While we are still debating whether to wake her up or not, she wakes up with the joy of having a kidney after twenty tough years, pulls the breathing tube away and asks “Hey, is the kidney functioning?”.

– Yes, it does, how are you feeling?

– “I am fine” she says, with a smile on her face.

Today was a nice day, a real nice day...

Her daughter, whose childhood was spent in hospitals, in hemodialysis rooms, is waiting at the OR door. I rush to her to give the good news. She hugs me like someone who has just received a letter which has been waited for twenty years.

The cosmos can’t keep silent against this woman, who has waited patiently, without getting furious and without asking why this happened to her. It says, “You need to get up and run after all that time”. “You can take a five-day vacation with your daughter, without leaving her alone for a minute”.

A perfect stranger loses his or her life. Another perfect stranger is spared a life through all this grief. That life comes and ends twenty years of yearning. Her pale skin enlivens almost immediately after the surgery. Words fail to describe the sparkle in her eyes. I witness the rebirth of an adult one more time, enjoying the happiness of being a part of this process.

We discharged the patient. She had not received dialysis treatment for ten days. And she left with a sparkle in her eyes, dazed and bewildered for having no dialysis treatment for ten days in a row after twenty years of confinement to a dialysis machine.

I still recall the day she took a vacation with her daughter for the first time, following completion of the early stage after the surgery. Do you have an idea what a relief it is to help someone to get her mother back? Give it a try, it is addictive…

I was getting used to living in this ocean of love, but her outpatient monitoring visits became infrequent with time. I miss to see her. Other patients waiting in the outpatient clinic have no idea what we have gone through. They just can’t understand why we hug each other cordially every time she visits the clinic.

She was at the outpatient clinic today.

Today was a nice day, a real nice day…

News & Patient Stories

Ashamed To Speak, Reborn In His New Voice

Mehmet Ökten, 21 years old and from Şanlıurfa, had many problems for years due to his high-pitched voice. So much so that it was even thought that she was a woman while talking on the phone…