The 16-chapters of the quality 174-page paperback titled Dialing in on DI-AL-Y-SIS, researched and written by retired journalist and end stage renal patient Bernie Gilmer, are designed to provide an account of his first seven months on dialysis and the decade-plus of events leading up to his present fate.
To help develop a flavor for the substance of the book, the following excerpts follow in previewing the entertaining, revealing, and informative contents.
** FOREWARD (by Dr. Charlotte Templin, Emeritus, University of Indianapolis): Maintaining a sense of humor is one thing that gets our sometimes “discombobulated” (to use his word) retired journalist through the difficult challenges that seem to pop up with all-too-frequent regularity. He tells us that his book project was therapeutic, and it can be said that the healing he experienced is an offering to the reader.
** INTRODUCTION (by author): What has happened, though, to what is supposed to be those Golden Years? I do have the usual obligatory recliner (and an upstairs rocking chair) and a television remote, but original plans and hopes for retirement did not include seven hospital admissions, a couple of outpatient procedures, a pair of emergency room visits, and at least a half-dozen instances of simply passing out while stone cold sober.
** Chapter 1 (WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED DIALYSIS?): As this poor ol’ retired (mostly tired) journalist has discovered through his nearly decade-long-and-counting confrontation with kidney disease, this thing called DIALYSIS has brought on a plethora of very personal considerations, discussions, meditations, and ultimate decisions – both on the health/mental side and on the financial end.
** Chapter 2 (ALARMING START ON LATE-IN-LIFE CRUISE): First off, during the electrocardiogram segment – which positioned the bare-chested insurance applicant flat on his back on the dining room table – the family cat suddenly darted across his upper torso and interrupted the readings that the caught-off-guard nurse was recording on her portable equipment. She seemed a little perturbed that the EKG routine had to be restarted.
** Chapter 3 (THIRSTS PROMPT FREQUENT FLUSHES): Eventually, the doctor did return to his now traumatized patient, and he seemed somewhat distraught, too. He led with a question: “Mr. Gilmer, do you think it would be at all possible for you to drive yourself down to the St. Francis Hospital in Beech Grove? The hospital here doesn’t have an available room – they are all full (man, talk about no room at the inn).”
** Chapter 4 (CRUISING ON FROM PORT TO PORT): While the journey on the kidney disease trail had been advancing in what might be characterized as rather smooth sailing for a few years, the waters were about to become quite choppy.
** Chapter 5 (ARRIVING AT PORT ‘ON DI-AL-Y-SIS’): The 90-minute flight home the next day found the fatigued husband barely able to deplane at Indianapolis International Airport. After struggling to navigate the exit chute into the terminal, he plopped down in an empty chair and waved over his wife, Maureen. “Go get me a wheel chair. This is as far as I can go; I can’t make it to the pick-up area.” That is where son Evin was waiting curbside to drive the weary travelers to their condo.
** Chapter 6 (UNWANTED DIALYSIS BEGINS): In a lighter moment during one of the early treatments, this poor ol’ retired (mostly tired) journalist reverted to his usual sarcastic and cynical newspaper nature in dubbing the DIALYSIS machine “Count Dracula.”
** Chapter 7 (GUESS WHAT NEW MONTH BLEW IN?): Unfortunately, an episode regarding the taking of Phoslo – known personally by many emergency room doctors – would produce tales not to be told at the dinner table.
** Chapter 8 (WHILING AWAY TIME DURING TREATMENT): So now, more than a half a century after the Oxford saga, there he was, this ol’ retired (mostly tired) journalist, situated in a heated chair at the Premier Dialysis facility looking around the room, doing his best imitation of adapting to “the art of lobby sitting.”
** Chapter 9 (MANTRAS AND LIFESTYLE TRANSITION): That doesn’t mean he was in tune with what was going on. Like many, he was in denial on the first day he would go on dialysis. He did vow to cooperate with all factions involved – doctors at the hospital and ultimately at the DIALYSIS center, the nurses, the technicians, and staff personnel. The only pity party he threw for himself came on the night before his first DIALYSIS session. He stayed awake most of the night trying to figure out a way for this upcoming happening not to happen.
** Chapter 10 (TREATMENT INFO HAS FAMILIAR RING): What became most interesting for this now-avid researcher was learning just how the DIALYSIS treatment process works in removing excess fluid and extracting toxins from the bloodstream. The more he dove into the treatment topic, the more surprised he became that he could relate to and comprehend the hemodialysis process. In previous experiences while working in other industries, he had been exposed to processes that had worked in very similar ways.
** Chapter 11 (DID KID ILLNESS TRIGGER THIS DISEASE?): After being assigned to DIALYSIS in February of 2017, and while researching end stage renal disease, a one-sentence tidbit in a rather obscure Internet account jumped out like it was shot out of the proverbial cannon. Boom! And there it was: “Long-term complications as a result of SCARLET FEVER include KIDNEY DISEASE, rheumatic heart disease, and arthritis.” Sherlock Holmes could not have been more observant.
** Chapter 12 (JOCKS NOT IMMUNE TO RENAL DISEASE): Sometimes though, fame can be fleeting. It only takes one injury, or maybe one illness for an athlete to take a tumble from the luxury loft to the lowly latrine. It just so happens that one such pro baseball franchise – the Kansas City Royals – which this poor ol’ retired (mostly tired) journalist has been following since the team’s inception in 1969, had a player who typifies one of those who literally, quite literally, can speak in characterizing the rise-and-fall of an athlete. That player would be Florida-born catcher Ed Hearn, who in 1986 reached the penthouse displaying a World Series ring to commemorate a New York Mets world championship.
** Chapter 13 (PICK ONE – ‘ALBATROSS’ OR ‘BLESSING’): When chronic kidney disease patients enter what often becomes the final chapter of their battle with renal illness, the gateway into the world of being on dialysis can create a physical and emotional crossroads. For some, the feeling is like an entire world of burdens has been dropped upon their shoulders. For others, though, they may accept DIALYSIS with a sigh of relief, sensing the upcoming treatments thankfully may extend their number of days on this earth.
** Chapter 14 (IS TO QUIT OR TO DENY DIALYSIS SUICIDE?): According to the NKF guide, when the choice is made to stop DIALYSIS, the patient will be considered in a failing state and will, therefore, be able to have hospice care. The patient, after having made the decision to stop the treatment, may have a change of mind and can return to being on dialysis.
** Chapter 15 (PERHAPS THERE IS HOPE AHEAD): For those currently on dialysis, and for those who will be introduced to the traditional DIALYSIS regimen in upcoming years, it appears that the pending journey will offer at least a speck of optimism, especially when it comes to research for new treatment devices and for enlightened findings.
** Chapter 16 (HANDS WAVE TOWARD ‘PATIENT’S FATE’): Had this poor ol’ patient been Gomer Pyle, the bumbling-but-popular U.S. Marines character of television series fame in the 1960s, the connection between Dr. Jain and the DIALYSIS facility surely would have evoked the following response: “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!”
** EPILOGUE (by author): Obviously, the full story of my plight with end stage renal disease has yet to play out. No one really knows when it will do so.
More information about the book is available by going online at www.diodialysis.com, or by calling the author at 317-410-4811 (Indianapolis).