I work as a manager in the Investor Relations division. In my job, I’m a contact for analysts and investors, I respond to queries and work with others on the various publications for the financial market. During the week, I carry out dialysis treatment twice a day at work: once around noon and again just before I leave. In addition, at home I do one session in the morning after getting up and one just before bedtime.
Work and dialysis can often be combined better than you would think. For many years now, I have accompanied patients on their path to independent dialysis. Performing your own treatment does not mean you are alone. With Rolf Lösch, for example, I looked for an appropriate place at work for his dialysis. I wanted him to feel safe and undisturbed.
Each treatment takes around 40 minutes, considerably reducing my daily leisure time. But I’m determined to work fulltime, and it’s easier for me to do this with peritoneal dialysis than with treatment in a clinic.
When I was at university, the doctors diagnosed inflammation in my kidneys. Its cause was never determined. At the end of my studies, I was in such a bad state that I needed dialysis. Later, I was able to live a normal life again for nine years thanks to a kidney transplant. Back then I worked in the Controlling division and then in Internal Auditing. I had to go on a lot of business trips, including to India and China – I really enjoyed that and I do sometimes miss it. Over the past few years, the donated kidney has deteriorated continually, so I have had to start dialysis therapy again since last year. But I can live with that as it was clear from the start that the donated kidney wouldn’t function for the rest of my life.
Since I became ill, I’ve become much
more security-conscious. Things such as
career planning and financial security
have always been high on my list of
priorities. The help I receive from my
friends, family and particularly my wife is
also very important to me. She supports
me and takes lots of things off my hands
to free up the time I need for dialysis.
For me, it is important never to make decisions on behalf of the patients, never to push them. Patients decide where and how they want to dialyze, and they determine the point in time from which they are ready to perform the treatment on their own. I help them with my experience from 20 years in this profession, give recommendations and guidance on aspects that support the success of the therapy, such as hygiene, anatomy and physiology, as well as the handling of PD systems and devices. I also like to get the patient’s partner involved. The partner has the closest contact to the patient and can provide a significant amount of support and motivation. I always remain a point of contact for patients – and they often need that since dialysis at work is often a psychological challenge: Having to leave a conference early to carry out a treatment session, and doing this on company premises, makes some patients feel very uncomfortable at first. Others have existential concerns: Will they succeed in managing their workload as well as their healthy colleagues?
I try to sensitize nurses and doctors to the concerns and needs of patients. It is not only about medical issues. The patient is also part of a family, a partner in a relationship or an employee at work. We must support each patient individually – to whatever extent they want and need our help.