Perhaps you have heard of the book, Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi. The premise is simple, that pooping is the one thing that all animals do. It’s supposed to be a fun look at the world in a childlike way, talking about a taboo subject in a lighthearted manner, with simple, silly pictures that will make little kids giggle and yet teaches an entry to egalitarianism.
I was reminded of this book because I recently watched the video Everybody Pees, sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation. It’s a clever cartoon with a catchy tune that encourages everyone to get checked for kidney disease. Watch it with your kids, they will love it.
World Kidney day is March 10th. I’m sure not a lot of people have sat around thinking about their kidneys in the same way that I have. You see, when Wendy was very sick her kidneys shut down. She didn’t pee for about three weeks. Then her kidneys were damaged and sort of did a slow march to End Stage Renal Disease, otherwise known as kidney failure. It’s during that time you realize how important kidneys really are, and how much they do for the body.
Not only are kidneys your body’s way to get rid of toxins, but they also do a lot of other things. They help make red blood cells. They regulate blood pressure. They help to keep bones strong. When your kidneys aren’t working, not only do you need dialysis, but you also need lots of medicines that try to take the place of your kidney, and they do a fair but not great job. We also had to spend a lot of time regulating what Wendy ate and drank before her transplant.
When your electrolytes are off, your whole body feels awful, and a lot of people who are waiting for transplants often feel fuzzy headed and sleep a lot. It’s their body’s way of managing the weirdness.
You might also be unaware that kidney transplants don’t last forever. Wendy had one seven years ago, and that’s a nice run for a kidney. She will probably have another kidney transplant in the next couple of years. Right now her grafted kidney is working but starting to show its age, and it will be a slow deterioration of function until she will be on dialysis again.
Why am I writing this to you today? Two reasons. The first is take care of your kidneys. Go to http://www.worldkidneyday.org/ to find out how to take simple steps to make your kidney last longer.
The second reason is simple. Register to be an organ donor at http://donatelife.net/. You won’t need those kidneys when you are gone, and you will be saving someone else’s life. I have written an open letter to the mother of my daughter’s kidney donor here, and if you haven’t already read it, please do. It’s so important to get the word out that you can do good with just a simple registration. Think of the life you will be giving back to those who are waiting to live again.
I will be in Berlin on World Kidney Day, toasting the good health of my daughter, the generosity of her kidney donor’s family, and that the long wait for those on lists will soon be over. Kidney donation saved our lives.
Happy Kidney Day!