Kamal Shah

Kamal Shah

Hello, I'm Kamal from Hyderabad, India. I have been on dialysis for the last 13 years, six of them on PD, the rest on hemo. I have been on daily nocturnal home hemodialysis for the last four and half years. I can do pretty much everything myself. I love to travel and do short weekend trips or longer trips to places which have dialysis centers. Goa in India is a personal favorite. It is a great holiday destination and has two very good dialysis centers.

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Saturday, 12 March 2011 18:22

NephroPlus turns one!

NephroPlus turns one tomorrow! What a year it has been! We started with one center with four beds and one patient. Today we have two centers with 14 beds and about forty patients. The numbers don't tell the whole story.

When we started, there were two things that were paramount. Prevention of cross-infections and making the whole dialysis experience more pleasant. In my mind, these were the two biggest problem areas in dialysis.

When a person is suffering from kidney failure and needs to undergo dialysis week after week with no respite, no breaks, isn't it criminal to give him or her another life-threatening disease involving another critical organ of the body? Vikram, Sandeep and I realized the gravity of this problem. Vikram and Sandeep brought in their out-of-the-box thinking and expertise in processes and have, touch wood, solved the problem. By institutionalizing novel methods and unique systems, they helped remove the scourge of cross-infections from NephroPlus. I pitched in a little myself by dissecting the guidelines published by the Center for Disease Control in the USA and provided inputs. Prevention of cross infection remains NephroPlus' number one priority.

The second thing we were keen on doing was to improve the dialysis experience for patients, whom we call guests today. Having experienced dialysis sessions at many hospitals in India, I explained to Vikram and Sandeep the thorough boredom I felt during a dialysis session. I also explained the drained feeling I usually felt at the end of a session. Both of them understood entirely and they decided to put an individual television set for each dialysis station and provide free Wi-Fi access. This facility is there in very few dialysis centers in India today.


With Vikram and Sandeep at the launch a year back

Apart from all this, when I interact with guests at NephroPlus, there is one thing most of them say - the center feels like home. The technicians and nurses treat them with so much love and care that the whole experience becomes that much less painful. 

We have set very high standards in the first year of operations. It is going to be very difficult to live up to them. But I am sure we will. The main reason being we all love what we are doing. That makes the task much easier. Going every morning to the center is not a chore. We all look forward to it.

Here's wishing ourselves many more years of success!

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2011/03/nephroplus-turns-one.html

No matter whose side you are on in the Telangana issue, there's one thing you can't deny - there is a definite groundswell of support for a separate state. A large majority of people in the area do want a separate state. There has been a massive agitation going on for the past many months and this has effected normal life in the state especially the capital Hyderabad.

Despite this, I find, rather surprisingly, that the national media chooses to ignore the entire agitation.

Take 10th March for example. Hyderabad was almost shut down. Many statues were vandalized on Tank Bund. Despite all this, the matter was barely covered in the national media. Channels like NDTV have a penchant to cover news that barely effects us. The amount of time they spent in covering Aarushi Talwar murder case and now the Radhika murder case is frankly, quite ridiculous. These were ghastly murders, no doubt. However, how important are they to the nation? How many people do they effect?

Compare this to the question of Telangana. An entire population might be divided (not that it is wrong or right, but it will definitely effect all of them). Depending on which side of the divide you are, you either get what is rightfully yours or your basic identity is going to be broken. Isn't this more important than one single family?

For weeks, the government was paralyzed. Many important decisions were withheld. The conduct of examinations and careers of thousands of students were in jeopardy. In spite of this, channels do not find this important. The union government is of course doing nothing. Instead of deciding on the issue one way or the other, it is in a state of limbo. That again is a topic for another post. But the press, truly needs to get its priorities right.

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2011/03/why-does-national-media-ignore.html

You. Of course.

Especially when you have a chronic condition like kidney disease. I have found that you absolutely need to know it all. If you don't, find out. There is so much happening in the world of medicine every single day. Yes, doctors are there. But they are very busy. More so in a country like India where the ratio of nephrologists to patients is horribly low.

Nephrologists, in spite of their best intentions have very little time for individual patients. So, though they will be able to advise you on general things, there will be many things specific to your condition that they will not have the time to read up on. It is really up to you to figure out. Yes, discuss your findings with him or her. Hope that your nephrologist is open to such discussions (mine is).

Even on general things, it is important for you to be aware of the different options. You know your body best. You know your mind best.

Another thing that I have learned over the years is that the advice you are given is not necessarily in your best interest. In this industry there are a lot of factors at play. A lot of non-medical factors. This is sad but true. As patients we must be aware of this reality. Read up as much as possible. Talk to as many people as possible. Only then take a decision.

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2011/03/who-is-ultimately-responsible-for-your.html

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 19:11

Protect your kidneys, Save your heart

Today is World Kidney Day. This year's theme is "Protect your kidneys, Save your heart", which is very true. Most people who have kidney disease do not die of kidney disease, they die of other conditions caused by failed kidneys, most likely related to the heart.

So, it is important that if you do not have kidney disease, you should take steps to make sure that you don't ever get it. The best part is - it is in your control! The only thing you need to do is to recognize that fact and do something about it.

Here are five things you can do to reduce your risk of getting kidney disease (mostly taken from the official World Kidney Day website):

  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes every day
  • Eat natural, healthy food
  • Avoid antibiotics and pain killers unless prescribed by your doctor

A quick glance at the list and you might be saying, "What's new?" Exactly! That's what it is. The same old stuff. But take one more look at the list and see how many you are doing? It is very simple. You don't need anything complicated to prevent kidney disease. It is all straight forward. Its just about being disciplined and consciously making an effort.

Most of us get caught up in our daily lives without realizing that there could be a time bomb ticking inside us. We realize this only when it blows up. And by then it is too late. We all think that we are immune to these kinds of chronic conditions. "We will never get them". Honestly, I never, ever, even remotely considered the possibility of being diagnosed with a life threatening, life-long condition such as this. When it happened, it happened. I could do nothing.

You are probably in a stage where you can do something. The list above, when you think about it, is very general. It will help prevent a lot of chronic conditions. It is not at all specific to the kidneys! So, make a pledge. Use whatever tricks that work for you to follow these. You will not regret it.

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2011/03/protect-your-kidneys-save-your-heart.html

I have been keenly following the Aruna Shanbaug case in which the Supreme Court gave its verdict yesterday. You can read the details of the case and the verdict here. The court turned down the plea of Pinky Virani who was fighting for allowing Aruna Shanbaug to die rather than keeping her alive when she could not lead a life of dignity.

This is a very tricky case. On the one hand you have a woman who has been confined to a bed for the last three decades in a semi-vegitative state. On the other hand, she has not expressed any desire to die and she is not totally in a coma as she consumes food put in her mouth and expresses emotions too.

I think the Supreme Court's judgement is right.

The desire to live is a very basic, primordial thing. Every living cell wants to live. So, when there is no means to determine that a person wants to die, there is no option but to assume that he or she wants to live, in whatever form.

I have often wondered if ever, I were in a similar situation, what would I want? I really have no answer. It is impossible to say without being in that situation. At that point, would my suffering be so much that I would want it ended? Or would my desire to live supersede that desire?

I really hope I never have to be in that situation!

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2011/03/aruna-shanbaug-case-sc-does-not-allow.html

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