The Empty Chair

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

2 Citations (Scopus)


It is the day after Christmas in Australia—a Saturday. People are waking up to a day of eating leftovers and watching test cricket. In our rural town, patients are getting up to take their spot in the six-chair dialysis unit, eagerly looking forward to talking about their Christmas day. One patient is late, which is very unusual for him. The nurses call his home, only to be informed that he had passed away overnight. Next came the step that the nurses dreaded the most—letting the other patients know that today, there would be an empty chair. Just three days prior, this chair had been occupied by a husband, father, grandfather, university lecturer, car enthusiast, and perhaps most importantly, a dear friend.

Following my own diagnosis with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and the commencement of peritoneal dialysis seven years ago, I have visited the local dialysis unit once a week to take flowers and to talk to the patients and staff. I started this as I felt isolated at home, knowing no one else who was on dialysis at the time. Over time, we have formed deep bonds, connected by sharing similar, but at times very different journeys...
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A11
Number of pages1
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number3
Early online date12 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Kidney disease
  • Dialysis
  • Loss
  • illness experiences


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