I asked myself: “Why are there roaches and flies in this clinic where I get life-saving medical care?”

Seven years ago, I suffered an infection in my leg which damaged my kidneys and led to me becoming a dialysis patient. My sister and mother had both been on dialysis, so I thought I knew what I was in for. But, I wasn’t prepared for how much my life would change and how difficult it would be.

The things I’ve seen in the clinics upset me. In my old clinic in Irwindale I saw cockroaches scurrying on the floor. I told the staff and a clinic manager actually told me: “Maybe the patients are bringing the roaches with them from their homes.” They really tried to blame patients. And it wasn’t just one time, I saw roaches a number of times.

Then there were the flies. They would fly around and land on patients. Staff would tell us to shoo them away. You might not know what it’s like to be receiving dialysis, but you are connected to the machine and can’t move around—we can’t wave our arms around. It was so frustrating for me that the clinic put us in this situation.

I’ve seen caregivers responsible for eight or nine patients at a time, quickly moving to get the next patient on the machine. They don’t have a minute to spare – sometimes they’re wiping down a machine while a patient is still resting in the chair. It makes me worry: when our caregivers are working that quickly are they really able to clean things the way they should?

My life has changed dramatically since I started dialysis. I used to work. I used to have the energy to play with my grandkids. But, most days now I don’t have the energy to even play. Dialysis is hard on you, but it doesn’t have to be this hard. I want dialysis companies to treat us like human beings.

Share your story