Dialysis really sucks for everyone involved – the patients, their families and their caregivers. What makes it bearable is the environment, little details like soft lighting and a good-humored medical team.
So leave it to a Florida man in Port St. Lucie to somehow make it worse, by insisting on bringing along his life-sized cardboard photo cutout of President Donald J. Trump, another controversial Florida man, to his dialysis treatment.
Tequesta ABC affiliate WPBF-TV is standing up for just that man, Nelson Gibson, bravely giving a platform to this victim as he faces the grave suppression of his rights.
Gibson said his family can't be present with him during his three-and-a-half-hour kidney treatments, so he started bringing a small framed photo of our pious president for comfort.
After medical staff at Fresenius Kidney Care in Port St. Lucie gave him that inch, Gibson took the whole mile, upgrading to a miniature cardboard cutout of himself with Trump – such Trumpian bravado, this guy!
After a few more of his thrice-weekly treatments, Gibson decided to upgrade his "emotional support item" once again, this time to a full-sized cutout of the grinning president, whose policies include separating migrant children from their parents.
Screenshot via SWFL/YouTube
On his first visit with the giant item, Gibson says no one said anything to him about it, but things were different on his second visit Saturday.
"They told me it was too much and it wasn't a rally," he told WPBF.
Gibson's son called the facility to find out what the problem was, and was told it was "an issue of safety, infectious disease, which made no sense." Now they feel singled out, because oppression.
"It just feels like bringing something from home to make you comfortable," Gibson said in the interview. He pointed out that another patient brings in bubble wrap to pop during her treatment. He added that he found this support mechanism "nerve-wracking."
"What I would really like to happen is for them not to infringe upon my father's freedom of expression and speech and allow him to bring in the life-size cardboard cutout that takes up less service area than a garbage can," son Eric Gibson said.
"We strongly support the ability of all our patients to express their views," said Fresenius Kidney Care in a statement. "Which includes bringing reasonably sized items into our dialysis centers that do not create safety or infection control issues, or interfere with caregivers on the treatment floor."
The family told WPBF they aren’t sure when Gibson will return for treatment. Without dialysis to treat kidney failure, toxic wastes and fluid eventually build up in the body, leading to feelings of exhaustion and difficulty breathing, before a slow but relatively painless death.