“Life on dialysis is difficult and challenging, but he is proof that with self-discipline and proper care, a long quality life is possible.”
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A medical practitioner took to Facebook last week to share the inspiring story of one of his patient’s discipline and commitment to his health that he hopes would serve as an example to everyone
Dr Eason Chang, a nephrologist working at Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim, Kedah, extensively praised his patient, Abdullah Hussain, in a post that shows his resolve to stay healthy despite having end-stage kidney disease and requiring dialysis for over 30 years.
Chang revealed that Abdullah, fondly known as “Pak Lah”, is the longest patient on dialysis at Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim
“2020 marks the [start of the] fourth decade he is on dialysis,” said Chang.
Chang wrote that Abdullah has been on renal replacement therapy since 1990, when he was diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure due to glomerulonephritis at the age of 37.
Renal replacement therapy refers to treatment that replaces the function of the kidneys to filter the blood of toxins and waste. The therapy can be haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, haemofiltration, haemodiafiltration, or kidney transplantation.
For someone with kidney failure, going without dialysis means a life expectancy of merely weeks.
Abdullah was on peritoneal dialysis for the first year of therapy before switching to haemodialysis until today
“Pak Lah initially started peritoneal dialysis in Hospital Pulau Pinang and then had to commute to Alor Setar to undergo haemodialysis there,” wrote Chang.
When contacted by Malay Mail, Abdullah revealed that he used to drive, for an hour at least, all the way to Penang and Alor Setar from his home in Tikam Batu, Kedah for his scheduled treatments, in spite of the lengthy journey.
Fortunately, in 1998, the haemodialysis unit opened in Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim which was located closer to his hometown.
“Pak Lah is one of the pioneering patients to start haemodialysis in our unit,” said Chang, adding that Abdullah could not receive a kidney transplant due to other medical factors.
Chang’s photo of Abdullah’s medical notes when he first started dialysis in 1990.
Image via Eason Chang/Facebook
Chang wrote that Abdullah even used to work while he had to navigate going for dialysis treatment
According to the National Kidney Foundation, each haemodialysis treatment usually lasts about four hours and is done three times per week.
Despite so, Abdullah worked as a technician for the Malaysian Public Works Department (JKR) for 35 years, from 1972 to 2007 in Penang as well as in Sungai Petani.
Chang also praised Abdullah for maintaining such a disciplined lifestyle according to the doctor’s orders that has kept him healthy through these years.
“Pak Lah attributes his longevity to his self-discipline in maintaining fluid restriction, keeping a low salt diet, and making sure his blood pressure is always well controlled.”
Despite living with the disease for multiple decades, Dr Chang wrote that Abdullah has lived long enough to watch his children all grow up into adults and even meet his eight grandchildren
He hopes that Pak Lah serves as motivation and an example to his other patients to follow in his footsteps.
“Life on dialysis is difficult and challenging,” said Chang, “But he is proof that with self-discipline and proper care, a long quality life on renal replacement therapy is possible.”
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