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Letter: Dialysis isn't all that unpleasant

Both of Ruth Bernal de Villalta's kidneys have

Both of Ruth Bernal de Villalta's kidneys have stopped functioning. Her husband is willing to donate one of his kidneys to her if he's a match, but since both are undocumented immigrants, doctors at the clinic where she gets her dialysis treatments have told her a transplant is impossible. Bernal de Villalta is shown in her Brentwood apartment on Monday, June 15, 2015. Credit: Steve Pfost

Newsday has printed many stories recently dealing with the medical issues pertaining to kidney transplants and dialysis, and the political question about which services should be available to immigrants here illegally ["Kidney transplant not a reasonable request," Letters, July 5].

My focus is on the medical issues. One could gain the impression that dialysis is just a fragile lifeline away from death, that it is terribly uncomfortable and that kidney transplants are a panacea.

Having recently started dialysis, I've learned that transplants are not a cure-all, and that many adjustments can be made to reduce discomfort.

I've also learned that there are people who choose not to go on dialysis. I was very down when the doctor recommended dialysis, because I thought that it would be a dehumanizing, hospital-like situation. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The staff at my center in Bellmore makes an extended effort to make one feel special, and they are some of the most caring people I've ever encountered. I realize that conditions may vary from center to center, but all things considered, when one has to make the hard choice, give it your best shot.

Walter McCarthy, Massapequa


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