“At only 22 years old, both my kidneys had failed and I needed to be put on dialysis via a permanent catheter at my right chest to survive.”
– Mr Nathaniel Alejandrino, who looks to the future with optimism and determination
Our early twenties are a carefree and exciting period for many for us. For Mr Nathaniel Alejandrino however, it was a series of health issues that eventually culminated in kidney failure.
“I was severely overweight. I was once over 100kg! It was a wakeup call when I was diagnosed with hypertension at 20. I started jogging thrice weekly and I stopped drinking sugary drinks. I was so confident with this new regime that I didn’t bother taking my medication and stopped going to the doctor,” Nathaniel recalls regretfully.
Everything changed during his first week of enlistment in the National Service when Nathaniel fell sick and was sent to the hospital where he was diagnosed with kidney failure.
“My creatinine levels were so high that the doctors had to put me on emergency dialysis to save my life. At only 22 years old, both my kidneys had failed and I needed to be put on dialysis via a permanent catheter at my right chest to survive.”
The army gave him a choice to be exempted or continue serving. He decided to take up the challenge to complete his National Service. Despite the odds, he was also able to participate in physical exercises and play non-contact sports such as badminton with his unit. His time in the service has given him resilience for his future endeavours.
Since completing NS in June last year, Nathaniel has been employed full-time as a bullion dealer. His employer is very supportive in providing flexible work arrangements for him so that he can attend his thrice weekly dialysis. He is also thankful for the heavily subsidised dialysis treatment he receives at NKF, which eases the financial burden on himself and his family.
He is grateful to the nurses for their support and encouragement, and for the precautionary measures in place at the dialysis centre during this coronavirus outbreak. He says, “It has not been easy coping psychologically as I have to be extremely vigilant because kidney patients are more vulnerable to infections due to our health condition.”
Nathaniel also joined NKF’s young patients’ advocate group where patients share their experiences and provide friendship and emotional support to one another. When asked about what hobbies and interests he had, Nathaniel laughs and says, “Saving money!” He is on the waiting list for a transplant and has already started saving for it. Despite having gone through so much at a young age, Nathaniel is mature beyond his years and looks to the future with optimism and determination.