What students should understand about someone with renal failure.

In early 2014 I was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital in Malta with what seemed to be a severe urine infection. Once they cleared that up, I was asked back for more tests: an ultrasound, nuclear medicine scan and blood tests. The result was right renal failure. Nothing too drastic, I can still lead a normal life, have babies, do exercise, whatever floats my boat, and my left kidney is functioning really well on its own. I do, however, have to make an extra effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means not overdoing it on protein, sugar and alcohol intake (and probably some other things too).

Now, I’m not a doctor so I’m not going to attempt to get all technical but the main point here is that the kidneys act to filter your blood. And too much of anything in your blood isn’t great on two kidneys, nevermind one.  So if I’m overdoing it on certain intakes, my good strong kidney will have to work even harder and at my tender age of 22, I’d rather not work it overtime at what I’d like to think is only the beginning of my long life.

As a student there’s temptation to stray. Long hours in the library scream for a packet of chocolate digestives and three trebles for £6 in Mimo’s is a bargain. But I know my body and I know it won’t appreciate it in the slightest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no party pooper. I’ll hit it hard in Flares any night of the week, the difference is I won’t be smashed off my face. You won’t find me throwing up in the bathrooms or peeing behind bins. And most importantly, you won’t find me downing my drink. So please stop asking.

It doesn’t matter how much you chant, or what the rules are. I will play along as much as I can on my half a bottle of wine or gin and lemonade mixer, but you will not get me to knock one back (unless it’s a jager bomb) and I certainly will not drink from that vile jug in the middle of Ring of Fire. And no means no. Don’t call my ‘medical reason’ bullshit. Don’t tell me that alcohol affects the liver, not the kidneys. By making a big deal out of it, you’re the one being the party pooper. And to be quite honest, if someone doesn’t want to drink regardless of their reason, you don’t push it. That’s peer pressure and that’s bullying. No one likes a bully.

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