Ted is 73 and has endured dialysis treatments for the last 28 years. The treatments take 3.5-4 hours a day and he needs these treatments four times a week. Ted’s wife and sole caregiver has been providing the hemodialysis at their home for 16 of those years. Ted has already had one failed transplant and became blind in one eye due to an infection attack on his retina caused by a suppressed immune system as a result of anti-rejection drugs he had to take before the failed kidney transplant. Can it get any worse? Yes, his frail body has since gone through open heart surgery and many illnesses and to top it off, his wife contracted Lyme Disease and now has severe arthritis that makes it impossible for her to care for him like she once did.
The only dialysis treatment center that also offers respite services is located 30 minutes from their home. That means that she has to help her husband get ready to go to dialysis, get him into the car, drive thirty minutes (with severely arthritic hands), wait 3.5-4 hours for him during the treatment, get him back into the car, drive another 30 minutes, get him into the house and get him dinner and whatever else he needs before having a moment to address her own needs. This is four times a week. The whole experience is painful for both of them and she is the sole caregiver. Now, she can no longer grip the steering wheel for thirty minutes to get him to his treatment.
Friends and neighbors have stepped forward to help, but when you’re scheduling 16 days a month, it takes a village to get the job done. We have found a driver to also take a couple of days a month. We would love to find more to help this couple, but they aren’t the only ones.
Warner lives on the opposite side of Jacksonville and he doesn’t look sick, but he has to go to dialysis treatments three times a week. Warner has NO family to assist him and he is now blind. Warner, too, has had one failed transplant and wants badly to receive another chance at a new kidney, but his Medicaid was suspended when the system was overhauled and he didn’t understand he had to reapply. That suspension dropped him from the waiting list and now he has to come up with $10,000 to get back on the list at the same slot he left. Being ill has such a hefty price tag. Warner has used all of his savings on public transportation to get to his dialysis treatments. He needs help getting there now, too.
We need drivers and donations for transportation passes. We need volunteers with a heavy heart for people who can no longer transport themselves to get to necessary medical appointments. I know good drivers are out there. Who in your neighborhood is going through this same predicament? Do you even know your neighbors? Ellen, Oprah, Donald, ANYBODY….. can you hear this? There is just so much need. Do you know the Teds and Warners in your neighborhood?