Practicing Gratitude
Song and Singing

For the past couple of months, Vernon has needed to have a sitter with him during every dialysis session to keep him safe, in case he gets too agitated and tries to pull out the connecting tubes or if he decides he’s had enough of sitting and tries to jump ship. Thankfully, some willing souls have given of their precious time and answered the call.  It was still difficult for him to sit for three hours at a time, three afternoons a week, so we decreased the time and added a day.  After a month or so of that schedule, we are changing things up yet again, adding yet another day (this time a Wednesday morning) and cutting each day’s treatment to two hours.

It is a slight inconvenience as we will need to find still another sitter, when I can’t go. But this time, it is in the morning, and that makes it much easier for me. Also, now that it’s summer, I don’t have to pick up kids from school, and I can pick up the slack when necessary.

But the good thing is, it makes it easier for him to sit. I think of having a toddler on a flight, or even a road trip…. that last half hour can be brutal for all. If it’s easier for Vernon, its easier for whomever is looking after him. Also, if he does have a difficult episode, they can always take him off the machine early and make up the time on another day.

I sat with him twice this week. It was definitely easier at two hours. And not just because of him—I have a hard time sitting in one place that long myself. But I came with bags packed (some call this the “Justin Case”) and my laptop.


No, I didn’t read from this one, though I’m sure he’d find it fascinating. This was just in the waiting room. There’s a periodical I bet most of you have never heard of.


This just happened to be the magazine I found to read to him. I’m not making any more comments about it. He does seem to especially enjoy listening to articles about science and history. I think he misses feeding his brain intellectually.


We watched some of his favorite TV shows that we used to watch together in England. YouTube to the rescue! (The Dialysis center has WiFi, thankfully!) That’s Steven Fry, host of QI (Quite Interesting), a trivia game show that awards its panel of comedians with points for the most interesting (or funniest) answer, and docks them for the most obvious.


When that got too hard to follow, we switched to another fave, Have I Got News For You. That’s sometimes-host David Mitchell in the photo.  This is a current event satire quiz show.  If you want to learn about British Humour and also get on top of some weekly world news, this is the show for you. It’s quite possible I learned more about England from watching tv with Vernon than any of my own experiences while living there. I’m glad he was there to guide me through the parts I didn’t understand.


This is the Dialysis Machine.  We sometimes call it the giant kidney. But the truth is, its just the machine that allows a small part to work.


See that tube there? That is the kidney-like part.  It’s hard to tell in this photo, but it is lined with tiny fiber-looking tubes that filter the blood. Quite an amazing (and life saving) invention.


Remember the photo my Nephrology Times? This illustration of a kidney was on it’s cover. I prefer the ones we came with. What a remarkable design. Most of us have two of them. Don’t we have it good?


I wish Vernon didn’t have to do this so often. I wish he didn’t have to do it at all. I am overwhelmed with gratitude as people have signed up to help him out, not knowing if its going to be a good day or a bad day for Vernon in the chair. If you or maybe someone you know would be interested in sitting with him once in awhile, we have a Signup Genius site, where you can chose a time to help out.

We are also considering the option or raising some money and hiring someone to sit with him as a part-time job. If you know a person who wants to make a little extra money this summer, this may be a good option for them. I think their living near Costa Mesa will make it more worth their while. Perhaps a college student with some muscle in their arms (just in case Vernon starts getting active.)


What I find so endearing, whenever its time to leave and his ambulance team has come to pick him up, is that he seems so happy to see them…not just because he is relieved to go, but because I think he recognizes them a little. Since the various teams have got to know him over the past nine months or so, they always tell me how much they like him, how they have had some great conversations with him. Sometimes they might ask what happened to him in the first place, as no one else can tell them. And sometimes they fill me in on what he’s told them.

This week, one ambulance driver said to me: “It’s so nice to meet the wife. Vernon’s a really great guy. So do you only have two kids? Or is it seven? Vernon said you adopted some. From what he tells me, I know it’s either two or seven.”

Gosh, just think …what if I had seven kids to juggle on top of all this?  I shall count my blessings.

Thanks, guys, for the perspective! And I’m blindsided by Gratitude again.

If you are interesting in being a part of Team Vernon for Dialysis, please sign up here:

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Practicing Gratitude
Song and Singing