The annual event, which coincides with National Kidney Month and includes a free meal, was well attended (Duh!) by dialysis patients, caregivers, medical and equipment representatives and those who simply desired more information about their options after the dreaded diagnosis of kidney failure has been delivered.
The Network offered five key questions a renal patient should ask her or his physician when the subject of dialysis finally arrives:
• What dialysis therapy may offer me the best chance of living a normal life?
• What dialysis treatment would allow me the best chance of survival?
• What treatment would allow me to have better nutritional status?
• What dialysis treatment option would YOU choose if you were faced with kidney disease?
|David Rush, aka Young Bo$$, a true crowd pleaser|
One great way to learn more is simply to attend sessions like these. The evening's featured speaker was my man David Rush, aka Young Bo$$, a charismatic, very gregarious hip-hop star whose career literally was rescued by home hemodialysis.
Rush encouraged everyone in the quiet, attentive crowd to get on their feet and whoop and holler like Justin Bieber fanatics so he could get a great selfie shot for his Instagram account. But he's deserving of a JK blog post of his very own, and I will devote major space to his remarkable story in the very near future. Promise.
The night featured other first-person testimonials from dialysis patients who wanted to share how much home treatments – be it be traditional or short Home Hemodialysis or Peritoneal Dialysis (PD), my former godsend of choice – resurrected their lives.
One, Cary Bolton, an O'Hare Airport employee who says conventional in-clinic dialysis left him so drained that he would fall asleep at stoplights on the way to work, claims that after he switched to PD he was part of "the H Factor: I'm healthier, I'm happier and I'm a home patient."
Also in attendance was my inspiring fellow Renal Network representative Lana Schmidt, who has done such an effective job of spreading the good news about home hemo in southern Illinois that her story was featured on radio, a newspaper feature and in a TV news segment around her home. You can read the text of her TV debut here.
Sadly, though, this was my first major kidney-related event without my friend Richard Berkowitz, the irascible, devoted champion of the home dialysis movement who died unexpectedly in January. (You can read my JK blog post about him right here.)
Even Young Bo$$ acknowledged his absence, having met Berkowitz at a previous conference. "That's somethin' about Rich, huh?" he asked. I had to agree.
Rich is no longer here, but I felt his presence tonight. I think he'll inhabit every room where home dialysis therapies is the subject of choice for many years to come. I fully expected to see him when I entered the banquet hall, then had to remind myself that I wouldn't.
What an incredible impact he made. Guess home is where his heart was.