Geoffrey Berlyne, whom we honor in this Festschrift, has contributed much to the modern understanding of diseases of the kidney, and of the clinical and metabolic disorders that occur in acute and chronic renal failure. The Festschrift highlights the many areas of his contributions. It is important to note that underlying them all is astute clinical observation, incisive analysis and reasoning, a breadth of approach, experimentation that facilitated understanding of the relevant clinical issues, and an unusual clarity of exposition in the literature. As author, editor, and teacher, Geoffrey Berlyne has brought this clarity of approach to a generation in nephrology. The following analysis of clinical data from a working dialysis unit, rendering care to a predominantly underprivileged patient population, is presented in the hope that it throws light on everyday problems in nephrology in a manner similar to that in which Geoffrey has guided the nephrology community.