Many patients find out they will have to undergo dialysis while working. This scenario prompts them to wonder many things about their current employments. Each year, half of all the patients who start dialysis in America are under 60; however, as Joe Cosgrove has previously discussed, it is possible to work while undergoing dialysis and, moreover, to schedule treatment appointments in accordance with the patient’s job.
One of the first symptoms of any kidney disease is the constant feeling of fatigue. Many people feel just too tired to carry out their duties at work. Failing kidneys make less of a crucial hormone called erythropoietin, which is the hormone responsible for telling the bone marrow to make red blood cells in order to bring oxygen to the cells. When an individual lacks enough red blood cells, such state is currently referred to as anemia. Most patients with stage four or five chronic kidney disease suffer from anemia, which can make them feel tired, weak, mentally fuzzy, cold and even short of breath.
Anemia can cause a variety of symptoms aside from the ones mentioned above. Anemia can also cause pale lips and gums and nail beds. Traditionally, in male patients, it also causes erectile problems. Often times, patients with anemia have uncanny and unorthodox cravings: some crave ice, clay, laundry starch and even dirt. However, anemia can be treated, and people can regain their energy, yet many do not receive the treatment soon enough. Unfortunately, many individuals quit their jobs, since they firmly believe they will never feel good and well enough to work again. Soon after patients start dialysis and get their anemia treated, it is too late to resume working activities.
In light of what can be done, the aforementioned scenario is completely avoidable. Anemia is known for coming at a slow rate: people often fail at noticing it at first, which is why the wisest thing to do is to ask for a blood test. If the red blood cell level is low, it is quite a good idea to talk with a physician. Iron pills alongside folic acid have proven to be effective for treating this condition.
Do not rely on disability income
Permanent leisure time, no deadlines for that dreary report, no bosses around… It sounds like the perfect scenario. What the vast majority of patients ignore is that the Social Security Disability Insurance may only pay up to 35% of a full-time wage. To avoid any kind of fraud, even a private disability plan covers just 60% of full-time wage minus social security disability insurance payments. This means patients can earn much more money by working than by relying on disability payments.
What people also ignore is the fact that their lives would change dramatically if their income were to be reduced to one-third or two-thirds of their original income. If that were the case, people would struggle to keep their homes, their cars, etc. It is advisable to think things longer prior to recklessly deciding to take the disability option. Once people go that way, it can be very challenging and tough to go back in the future.
Choose (and try) to stay healthier
Research has shown that patients undergoing dialysis tend to feel much better if they keep their jobs. In fact, not calling it quits helps people become more physically able and reduces the pain commonly associated with this disease. In short, people have better health and, more importantly, more energy. Having a better physical condition while on dialysis means patients are subject to shorter hospital stays—which, of course, is also associated with a longer life expectancy—. People who actually feel better are more likely to carry out their duties at work more efficiently, since it provides them with a sense of purpose, belonging, identity and, last but not least, a fixed income. Those aspects are often associated with improvements at many levels; they allow people to feel much better about them and about their lives despite suffering any kind of chronic kidney disease or undergoing dialysis.
Go for a treatment-work-friendly option
It is quite advisable to always plan things in advance—irrespective of whether an individual is about to start dialysis or suffers from any kind of chronic kidney disease—. Be that as it may, it is important to always bear in mind work schedules, the very nature of the duties associated with the job, and whether or not it is possible to continue doing whatever the job demands while on treatment. For that reason, it is quite advisable to choose a form of dialysis that allows patients to work during normal hours, travel if needed and have a normal diet.
Although kidney failure is a game changer (perhaps for the worst), by planning ahead patients can get the most out of their lives without having to quit their jobs, thusly reducing the impact of the disease on their income and, more importantly, their lifestyle.