But how does he organize this procedure in the midst of a normal workday at Mercedes-Benz Vans, which also includes working on his job-related study program? “Each dialysis process lasts about a half-hour,” he says. “I do one right after waking up, the next one about noon, the third one in the early evening, and the last one before I go to bed. At the office I can use the relaxation room for that. I have my equipment there and no one bothers me.” When he was hired, he discussed all this with his supervisor. His team’s schedule is planned with this in mind so that there’s no conflict with the dialysis sessions.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Benedikt has been working exclusively at home since spring. That makes some things easier regarding the dialysis — but it also makes other things more difficult. “I’ve gone into voluntary isolation, because I have a weakened immune system and I’m susceptible to infections,” he explains. That indicates what a huge mental challenge his illness entails. “The diagnosis was a heavy blow,” he says. “Today this disease is part of my daily life. But there are good days and bad ones, both mentally and physically. My biggest limitation is my lack of flexibility. I’d like to simply be spontaneous once in a while. This disease has made me do some rethinking. Material things used to be important for me, but today the important thing is time.”
Because of his illness, Benedikt was automatically put on the list for a donor kidney. The waiting time is between six and nine years as a rule, sometimes it can be even longer. But there is reason for hope: His godfather is going to donate a kidney to him. We conducted our interview with Benedikt shortly before the transplant was to take place. We asked him about his emotions. “Relief, joy, excitement, fear,” he replied. He will have to take drugs for the rest of his life so that his body does not reject the donated organ, but he will regain his former flexibility. That’s why he’s already making plans for the future. “I’m just going to start driving and taking a road trip to the North Cape,” he says. There won’t be a rigid time plan. And above all, there won’t be any dialysis.