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Kamal Shah

Kamal Shah

Hello, I'm Kamal from Hyderabad, India. I have been on dialysis for the last 13 years, six of them on PD, the rest on hemo. I have been on daily nocturnal home hemodialysis for the last four and half years. I can do pretty much everything myself. I love to travel and do short weekend trips or longer trips to places which have dialysis centers. Goa in India is a personal favorite. It is a great holiday destination and has two very good dialysis centers.

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In a recent study, it was shown that more frequent, longer duration hemodialysis had better outcomes than the conventional thrice weekly, four hour sessions that the majority of patients currently undergo.

When I had to switch to Hemodialysis after my peritoneal cavity lost its ability to filter water, I was broken. Life, I thought, was over. But then my nephrologist, Dr. Girish Narayen, suggested nocturnal home hemo. For me, within a few months it was clear that I had got my life back. I didn't need any clinical trials or proof that this modality was better - much, much better.

Today, about five years after I switched, I am leading a pretty much normal life. If I had continued on the conventional hospital based thrice a week dialysis, I wouldn't have survived. Yes, there are people who are doing pretty well on conventional dialysis but it is simply not for me. I value my independence a little too much!

This study is significant though. Many patients don't have an opportunity to try this. Nephrologists as well! Patients generally think the medical community is trying to maximize revenue and profits by asking them to dialyze more frequently. I don't blame them of course. I would think that way too. But such studies would help patients realize this truth and encourage them to make an effort to increase the hours on dialysis and feel better and live longer.

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/02/is-better-when-it-comes-to-dialysis.html

Thursday, 23 February 2012 09:21

Aashayein 2012 - Pictures

Here are some pictures from Aashayein 2012:


Lighting the lamp. From L to R: Rama Kumari (NephroPlus patient), me, Dr. Brian Pereira (one of the top nephrologists in the world today, also the Chief Guest at the event), Manjunath (a pillar of the NephroPlus Banjara Hills unit), Vikram Vuppala (NephroPlus CEO).


'Shatadhvanyanukarana Vibhushana' Hari Kishen - a dialysis patient himself, the best part of the program - his jokes on dialysis units were the highlight of the day!


Me. In hindsight, the 'kurta' was a tad gaudy! But believe me, it looked more sober than in the picture!


Patients enjoying a sumptuous lunch prepared as per the dialysis diet - salt free (patients could take one or two 1 gram salt packets) and were leached of all the Potassium


Dr. P. C. Gupta, Vascular Surgeon, judging the Best Fistula Contest


Zia, NephroPlus technician giving one of the patients a gift for answering an Antakshari question correctly

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/02/aashayein-2012-pictures.html

Sunday, 19 February 2012 23:55

Aashayein 2012

So, Aashayein is done! After weeks of hard work of the entire NephroPlus team including yours truly, the event is finally over. It is difficult to imagine that it is over. After occupying your mind's space for so long, when something of this magnitude is completed, it is often difficult to come to terms with it!

The event, as expected was a huge hit.

I reached the venue exactly at 8 a.m., the time we (the NephroPlus team) decided to be there by. As usual, I was the only person there. But to their credit, almost the entire team was there within fifteen minutes or so. Some patients started coming in by 8:15 itself. These people had come in from outside Hyderabad. It was heartening to see people come in from so far for the event. And these people were not paid to attend!

By 9:30, the hall was almost full. We started playing the Aashayein theme and last year's pictures. We started the program around 10:15 and Dr. Brian Pereira, the chief guest of the event, who is one of the world's top nephrologists spoke very well in Hindi though the word 'gurda' - Hindi for kidney - is a horrible sounding word. I wish they chose a different word! Then there was the traditional lighting of the lamp which Dr. Pereira and Rama Kumari, a NephroPlus patient did. The lamp did take some time to light though!


From left, Mrs. Rama Kumari, me, Dr. Pereira and Vikram

After this, Dr. Rajasekhara Chakravarthi, nephrologist from Care Hospitals spoke on a few dos and don'ts for folks on dialysis. One thing that struck me during his talk was how almost all the tips he gave were probably known to every dialysis patient who has been on dialysis for a few years but were totally new for those who have been put recently on dialysis. When you get on dialysis, most of the diet tips totally shock you. A lot of what is good for people with normal kidneys is bad for people on dialysis! Dr. Chakravarthi's talk was great for those who were recently diagnosed.

After this, we had what probably was the best part of the show - the stand-up comedy act by Hari Kishen, a dialysis patient himself. He had everyone including me in splits. His take on the dialysis diet, the doctors and the accent of the nurses in the unit were absolutely hilarious! His show, for me, was the best part of the event.

This was followed by talks by Dr. Rajagopal, Transplant Surgeon and Mrs. Charitha Adikane, Dietician, on transplants and the renal diet respectively.

A sumptuous lunch followed which was prepared according to the dialysis patient's diet. The food was all salt-free and 1 gram salt packets were provided so that patients could add salt to their food as per their allowance. The vegetables were all leached to remove Potassium. I had a hurried lunch because as I served myself and generously mixed the salt from the packets and started digging into the delicious Malai Kofta, I spotted Dr. P. C. Gupta, the brilliant vascular surgeon who was scheduled to judge the Best Fistula Contest and speak on fistula care. I left my plate and dashed off to welcome him. I got back after making him comfortable to find my plate gone. I served myself another plate. This time I settled for plain rice and dal fry. I love this combination!

We started the post lunch session with the Best Fistula Contest and Dr. Gupta declared the winner after which he gave some great tips on how to maintain fistulas for long.

We had some games after this and ended the day with Housie and distribution of goodies.

I was totally tired after the event and reached home to crash. I awoke this morning with aches in my shoulders and legs! I am taking it easy today. There are some other interesting stories from Aashayein and pictures as well which I will post in the coming days.

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/02/aashayein-2012.html

Tuesday, 14 February 2012 20:22


Its been really long that I posted. I have been down with an infection in my fistula. It all started when I changed one of my cannulation sites for the arterial needle because I was having pain in one of them. Two days I used sharp needles to form the tract and the second day itself it looked like the tract was formed. I had used this site long back so I thought the tunnel reopened easily.

The third day, I used a blunt needle and it wasn't going in easily. So, I let Jairam try and he had to dig around a little before it finally went it. The rest of the night was uneventful. Morning was also fine while removing the needles.

I then had a shower and on my way to work the new arterial site started paining. It was a deep sting. Within an hour of reaching the office, I started feeling feverish as well and the area had swollen. I took some paracetamol and rested. I left early for the day. I was put on antibiotics by the doctors. After three days, the fever subsided and I am much better now.

This week is going to be one crazy week. Its Aashayein, this Sunday! The three days out of circulation have made things a wee bit rushed. Our radio campaign for the event goes live today. Watch out for a surprise in case you hear the English version! Let me know how you found it!

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/02/update.html

Tuesday, 07 February 2012 22:33

A radio campaign: how much does it help?

We launched Hello Kidney beginning of this month. To coincide with the launch, we did a radio campaign that talked about how you could get help on kidney and urological problems by just a free phone call. We never claimed to cure or diagnose on phone. It was just an informational helpline where you could check on stuff. If it sounded serious, we would direct the caller to visit a doc - not necessarily our docs, but any doc of the required speciality.

The radio ad was noticed. I got many calls from friends saying they heard the ad - few of them who I presumed would never listen to radio as it exists in Hyderabad today. The ads themselves were only 15 seconds long - not something very 'in your face' at all. But they were still noticed.

However most of the calls we actually got were due to the press release we issued and that appeared in many newspapers (we tracked the source of info about the helpline). So, while the radio ad definitely helped in building visibility for our brand, it did not result in too many actual calls.

Well, it is too early to arrive at any firm conclusions from a one week exercise. But this did help in getting some early reads into the effectiveness of a radio campaign for an initiative such as this.

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/02/radio-campaign-how-much-does-it-help.html

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