TW: Illness, Kidney Disease. By Sarah Woodworth
Apparently there were two jokes in a recent episode of Saved by the Bell that "joked" about Selena Gomez's kidney transplant. If you are unaware of this, due to her struggle with Lupus, Selena underwent a kidney transplant to quite literally keep her alive.
The jokes were as follows:
- Small skit where two girls argue over who actually donated the kidney. It was tasteless and inherently ignorant to those who put their lives at risk to donate their kidney. (referencing Selena's situation where her friend selflessly donated a kidney).
- Spray painted wall behind a dialogue scene that said, "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?"
Now, if you never watched someone you love completely deteriorate from kidney disease I suppose, to some extent, I can *try* to emphasize with your ignorance.
Except I just don't want too, and here's why.
There is a unit in the QE2 for hemo dialysis. This is a room full of rocking chairs and machines where patients come in, numerous days a week and have their body connected to a machine that filtrates their blood. For hours.
You can not get up, you can not eat. You stay in your chair until your treatment is over. There is a line connected to a main artery and you need to be properly disconnected/reconnected prior to continuing your treatment.
This was quite literally Selena Gomez's soon to be reality without a kidney transplant.
Your life expectancy on dialysis is 4 to 5 years. There are different types of dialysis treatments, however, not all of them work for you.
"The need for organs for transplantation is much greater than the available supply. In 2018, 4300 Canadians were on a waiting list for a transplant. Of those, 78% were waiting for a kidney. Wait times can range from a few months to several years."
Please refer to my point above, dialysis only works on average for 4 to 5 years. Do the math. Canadians are dying.
My step father was one of them.
He never made it to the list.
Here is my experience for the "humor" I ensured during this time.
- Crumbling into our dog's bed the day his kidneys finally failed and I cried so hard I didn't know how to breathe.
- Or about the days I had to quite literally push doctors to get him on a machine because his oxygen was at 70 and our hospitals don't have enough units to house every single dialysis patient.
- Or about the time I helped him make his bed and he was so weak that his hands were shaking and he tried really hard to not let me notice.
- The chats I will forever cherish while driving him to his treatments. My mom and I would take turns some weeks as he was scheduled for 3 full day treatments throughout the week.
- Praying so hard to a god I don't even believe in begging for this to go away.
- Slowly disappearing from social gatherings, my friends and family because literally nobody understood the type of exhaustion I was feeling.
- Hearing him say "I'm tired" and me having to hold back any fear I had and say, "keep fighting".
- Or about the night he lost his fight and I sat beside him watching him slip in and out of consciousness.
I'm not sharing my "sob story" for sympathy. This is quite literally the opposite. I am sharing this because there is a massive disconnect between health and illness and this messaging, delivered through a show for TEENAGERS further creates that divide and ignorance in regards to the seriousness of this issue. Life and death are not topics for writers to poke fun at.
Here's the article in regards to the show if anyone is interested. They did issue an "apology" but it's not enough. Article