If We Were Having Coffee – June 13/2015 :Guest Post

The New Patient

Afternoon Tea

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today. I’m happy to see you have come for a cuppa and a chat. Please come into the garden and make yourself comfortable. Willow has put out the cushions on the chairs and set the table under the canopy so we can have a cuppa and chat. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our world-wide readership. Also available is a large selection of spirits for addition to your cuppa or in its place. We can relax amongst the flowers while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. How has your week been?

Friday evening I walked into dialysis in a good mood – humming under my breath. I was early and my chair was empty, which meant I could take my time and arrange the chair and sheets and pillows to my liking while I got ready for treatment. My regular position is adjacent to the nursing station and admin area. They will often line up in-patients on stretchers or wheelchairs next to the desk and tonight was no exception. Most times the patients are either lost in their own thoughts, asleep or in pain. Tonight as I walked by the station a gentleman on a stretcher called out to me and asked if I was a dialysis patient. I answered in the affirmative and walked over to lean on the desk next to him. He asked how long I had been a patient and I told him 8 years. He told me that this was his veryfirst dialysis. He was in his late forties and had an air of authority about him. He showed me the perm catheter they had installed for dialysis – the usual starting point for new patients. I showed him the scar where my original perm cath had been installed, and then my fistula. I asked how long he would have to be on dialysis (some patients have temporary treatment during times of kidney infection or other issues) and he told me he was a permanent patient. He wanted to know about the treatment and pain control and worst side effects. I, in turn, emphasized that the dialysis personnel, nursing and admin strived to make the unit feel like a safe place for the patients and he should speak up if he had any concerns or questions or felt any pain. I could feel that he was understandably nervous and I worked to assuage his concerns. I tried hard not to lie to him and simultaneously not to alarm him. And he was asking questions about far future events – questions that made it clear to me that he didn’t quite get this yet. Dialysis treatment is not a fix for a problem that puts things back on course- dialysis is an alternative to death and so there are continual and recurring issues that pop up like dominoes falling. The train of his life had just made a turn at a switch and would never again be on the original track – as much as he could temporarily still see the original track, he would never return to it.

Would you like another cuppa while we chat? Perhaps a sweet? I hadn’t really noticed my change in attitude over the years as I slowly came to realize that what happens next isn’t really important – what happens now is the most important. Focus on now and everything else will eventually work out. When I spoke to Ken, it was like looking back in time and speaking to myself 8 years ago. It was an interesting conversation. I had always griped about the doctors and staff not being open about warning of the coming future, but now as I stood in front of this frightened man who was seeing all his life’s plans and his future change, I couldn’t help but edit my own words to remove the coming angst. There was no way that in his frame of mind he would have been able to properly process those words. I wonder, does that make me hypocritical? Here I was doing thevery same thing that I most detested in others.

The nurses came to roll Ken to his dialysis and one nurse, Tau, quipped that I should write a book. I teased her that I would be sure to include the night she hit the back of my dialysis machine with a stretcher, breaking off a water line and creating Lake H (H is the dialysis unit). She laughed so hard she turned beet red. Ken and I exchanged good-byes, leaving me thoughtful. I hope that I gave him some small amount of peace about his coming life without omitting too much or alarming him. It’s a fine balance. I learned a lot about myself in that conversation with Ken.

On that note, that’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and enjoy the garden. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Willow for her invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Willow’s other posts while you’re here. Willow is over there serving her guests and chatting it up. Let’s go see how she is today. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you back here for sweets and beverages of your choice again next week.

Homemade Pink Cupcakes Await a Birthday Tea at School for a Young Girl’s Sixth Birthday Photo by : Belinda Borradaile

And of course  the


over at Part Time  Monster  and Gene’O’s

45 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Paul
    Jun 13, 2015 @ 18:19:53

    Thanks so much Willow for the opportunity to guest post. I hope all is well with you and yours. Have a great week!


  2. cordeliasmom2012
    Jun 13, 2015 @ 18:21:29

    You did a good deed, Paul. You gave Ken the information he needed without emphasizing the downside. He’ll learn that soon enough. What he needed the day he spoke with you was to have his fears assuaged – and you did that.

    I remember the first time I went for my IV therapy. I was quite nervous about starting a new treatment, which I knew would likely be life-long, and a young man who was there with his wife did for me exactly what you did for Ken. It made my first treatment go so much better just learning what to expect from someone who had already been there, done that

    PS: The post link has been added to your page.


    • willowdot21
      Jun 13, 2015 @ 18:37:05

      🙂 here here !!


    • Paul
      Jun 13, 2015 @ 18:51:30

      Thanks for dropping by CM. You are no doubt right that Ken was looking for reassurance. I sort of realized that latter as at the time he was asking a whack of questions. I had the impression he was well educated and used to giving orders. He may have been a doctor because in explaining I used some technical terms (I don’t believe in sugar coating any conversation) and he got them right away. I was surprised at how complex my feelings were and how detailed and rich the info was that had picked up over the years. Also, seeing my condition from the view point of someone entering, is also not a perspective i had considered. Anyway, I think he was reassured.

      Thanks so much for the visit CM. Have a great weekend.


  3. willowdot21
    Jun 13, 2015 @ 18:21:40

    Paul you are such a big hearted and kind man! You did your best to help this man and I have no doubt that you did!! xxxx


  4. Victo Dolore
    Jun 13, 2015 @ 19:27:34

    You should write that book, actually…


    • willowdot21
      Jun 13, 2015 @ 19:59:54

      Yes he really should!


    • Paul
      Jun 13, 2015 @ 21:21:33

      Ha! Thanks so much Victo for the read and the compliment. If I wrote a book, what would the focus be? This has been both the amusement and challenge in my life. I had a serious VP sit me down one day and lecture me: “Paul, you have to decide what you are going to do for a career.” Ha! I’ve always stayed busy and have kept most jobs for over 5 years and all for more than 2 years. A few I’ve had for 10 years. And still I’ve not found my passion (other than driving) in a job. I’m 57 and still not sure what I wanna be when I grow up. I am enjoying the bit of writing I a doing now, yet that is still too new to know if it could be a career. I am at a time in my life where I have the capability – time wise and finance wise – to do the writing, something that hasn’t been true before in my life.

      Thanks so much for dropping by Victo, I am honored.


      • Victo Dolore
        Jun 13, 2015 @ 22:22:15

        Start with the dialysis Q and A. Then go where the words lead you.

      • Paul
        Jun 13, 2015 @ 22:42:44

        So, if I’m correct, you are saying to use the dialysis as a logic hub and come back to it then out with stories , then back to it (Hub and spoke)You could also mean to use it as a starting point and circle around through life stories to end up back at dialysis in the end. Comment?

      • Victo Dolore
        Jun 14, 2015 @ 10:57:49

        Actually, I was thinking start with writing the dialysis book from a patient point of view, answering the questions patients might way to know the most about. Like pain. Side effect. Restrictions. How to keep yourself busy while hooked up to the machine. Doesn’t have to be super long. Just a booklet. See if the dialysis center wants to start giving them out to patients. Get some feedback. I bet there is a nice niche for this sort of thing. Take it international. Patients want to hear how it is going to feel from someone who is living it rather than from a doctor. After that practice, see where the words take you with another book. OR you could do the dialysis as a hub plan above. That is also a great idea…

      • willowdot21
        Jun 14, 2015 @ 11:31:08

        Yes it is both ideas are epic!

      • Paul
        Jun 14, 2015 @ 13:46:01

        That is an interesting idea Victo – I’ll seriously ponder that. Than you for the suggestion and compliment. 😀

      • 1EarthUnited
        Jun 13, 2015 @ 23:19:23

        Paul, you certainly are a talented writer and a gifted storyteller! Just write about u’r experiences and see where it leads. I enjoy reading u’r weekly guest posts. Enjoy the weekend everyone! 🙂

      • willowdot21
        Jun 14, 2015 @ 07:04:36

        I agree

      • Paul
        Jun 14, 2015 @ 07:13:41

        Thanks 1EU! You have a great weekend too!

      • willowdot21
        Jun 14, 2015 @ 07:32:25


  5. amoafowaa
    Jun 14, 2015 @ 06:59:16

    Looks yummy.


  6. Paul
    Jun 14, 2015 @ 07:09:51

    Thanks so much for dropping by amoafowaa. It is an honor to have you come for a visit. The cupcakes were made by my friend Belinda this week for her daughter’s birthday. Please come by again. 😀


  7. socialbridge
    Jun 14, 2015 @ 07:18:18

    Paul, what a fascinating post. I don’t think you were being a hypocrite. You were being wise and sensitive, having been down the road. All too easy to try and ‘tell all’ but harder to get the balance right.
    I suspect you will be the person that Ken will always remember from that first shaky night of his and I hope the pair of you end up close buddies.


  8. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Jun 14, 2015 @ 11:08:23

    Do think about the book from the starting point Victo mentions. ❤
    When you share your experiences, with this man, the time you fell asleep and were forgotten, the smoke you shared with the woman while waiting for your ride etc. These all humanize your life as a dialysis patient. I bet lots of people, especially those facing this change in their lives, but not only them, would find the matter-of-fact presentation like you do here a wonderful eye-opener. 🙂
    Think about it. Jot down notes of stories you can share. You'll be surprised how much material you'll come up with.
    Best of Sunday to you, Paul. ❤


    • willowdot21
      Jun 14, 2015 @ 11:25:06

      I do agree!


    • Paul
      Jun 14, 2015 @ 13:38:15

      Thanks very much for dropping by LCTC it is, as always, a pleasure to have you visit. That’s a interesting idea – I must say that I find it attractive. I’ll give it some serious thought. Thank you for the compliment LCTC – would you like a cuppa an a sweet? Whatever you would like, we stock – an all calorie free. Have a great week!


  9. Diana
    Jun 15, 2015 @ 01:42:20

    It’s interesting how we edit ourselves when we speak—and when we write. I think it’s just indicative, though, of being thoughtful. Words matter, and our stories have power. We should always take care how we tell them. 🙂


    • Paul
      Jun 15, 2015 @ 05:15:51

      Hi Diana! Thanks so much for dropping by to join us in a cuppa and conversation. You make a good point. In my case I was searching for the perspective that would be most helpful to Ken. Language is by times a very relative tool – so for him to understand what I wanted to convey I had to find the perspective and choose the words carefully. There were lots and lots of words I could use -and he would misinterpret almost all of them in his fear and concern.

      Excellent point- I would argue that we edit our words in order to have them make sense to others with a different perspective. Thanks so much for the visit – please come by again.


  10. idiotwriter
    Jun 16, 2015 @ 19:07:16

    Those cupcakes sure do look yummy 😉
    I want to process this write before leaving a thought… I hope that is OK. Couple of evening things to do – but it warrants more then a blip. 🙂


    • willowdot21
      Jun 16, 2015 @ 19:48:48



    • Paul
      Jun 17, 2015 @ 18:52:57

      Belinda! Awesome to see you here – visiting your cupcake picture. Ha! thanks so much for dropping by – I am honored. I hope all is well with you and yours and I wish you a happy week. Sorry i missed this yesterday -I’m having some issues with my computer but it is not serious and I’ll soon have it addressed (it skips messages when i am checking mail – I need a new mouse). Take Care!


  11. idiotwriter
    Jun 17, 2015 @ 09:16:32

    I so wish to say something thoughtful, and really all that is going through my head is – ‘that guy was so lucky to have you as his encouragement’.
    We cannot predict the future but we can look into it with wisdom and know what needs saying to create courage in others. I do believe that is the biggest gift we can give people..and YOU dear Sir – do it so very well.


  12. ~ Sadie ~
    Jun 18, 2015 @ 03:05:56

    Paul, I think Victo is on to something. You have much experience and could help many. I think you did a good deed with the new patient. I’m all for honesty – demand it most times – but sometimes it is all about getting through one step at a time, and I would venture this man hadn’t really made peace with the fact that his life course has now changed forever. Sometimes those realizations take a while to grasp. You did good, Paul. 🙂


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