Debut author Northam delivers a humorous look at the ins and outs of long-term dialysis.
Dialysis is a process that uses a machine to rid the blood of impurities, a job normally performed by the kidneys. When the author was diagnosed with acute renal failure, he was wholly unprepared for the havoc that the lifesaving dialysis treatments would inflict upon his life. When a doctor informed Northam that he would be unable to continue working, Northam reacted by telling the doctor he was “full of it,” but he soon found out how difficult the process could be. Dialysis involves sessions lasting four to five hours, three times a week, and complications can include fainting as well as extreme cramping and nausea which persist long after the treatment is over. As he relates his difficulties in this book, Northam is able to exorcise a few of his own demons while also providing a valuable resource for readers embarking on a similar journey. The author adroitly uses his experiences to clarify various facets of dialysis, from the basics of the procedure to its effects on patients’ lifestyles and work. Northam injects each example with his caustic humor and wit. (“To my fellow dialysis patients: Our lives are hard…laugh harder,” he writes.) However, he doesn’t cover his experience of receiving a kidney transplant, and readers might have been interested in seeing what changes the transplant brought about in the author’s life. That said, his ability to put a humorous spin on life-or-death situations is remarkable, and he’s created a stimulating book about a truly dire subject.
A fine book about one man’s experiences with kidney disease and dialysis that may provide hope to others faced with similar diagnoses.