It was June 19 and things were looking clear for Ferris Backmeyer. Really clear.
Ferris, 3, was wearing her new glasses and it was obvious that she was seeing some
things in great detail for the first time. Oh, the concentration as she looked at a book, turning pages and pointing out various things with either index finger.
But, oh my, life can take some quick turns.
Five days later, Ferris, who has been doing peritoneal dialysis since she was 14 months old, was battling fungal peritonitis.
As her mother, Lindsey, posted on Facebook: “The treatment 100% of the time is catheter removal. She is scheduled for a hemo line insertion Monday . . . Looks like we will be spending our summer at BCCH.”
Someone doing peritoneal dialysis has a catheter inserted in their midsection into the peritoneal cavity. The nightly fluid exchange, via a dialysis machine called a cycler, is conducted via the catheter.
Ferris was back at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver on Saturday and, as Lindsey mentioned, she was to have had a hemodialysis line put in today (Monday).
But those plans changed on Sunday . . .
“My sweet girl is in the OR right now,” Lindsey wrote on Sunday afternoon. “We had a really rough night. She is definitely getting worse in regards to pain and her breathing wasn’t awesome either. She was having central apneas and needed O2. She essentially slept through 2 lab draws this morning and endless assessments. They decided to pull the catheter and insert the hemo line today.”
And the little girl came through with flying colours. Yes, she is a real trouper in every sense of the word.
On Sunday night, Lindsey wrote that “Ferris did pretty great I think!”
There were a couple of hiccups, but the medical staff was able to get Ferris through all of that and she had her first “little test run on hemodialysis.”
That was “pretty uneventful . . . so uneventful that we got to come back up to the ward!”
Ferris woke up at 9 p.m., and was asking for food.
“Cheese and ranch dip are happening,” Lindsey wrote. “I’m trying to gently get food into her without making her vomit because her tummy still really hurts.”
And that pretty much took care of Sunday for the Backmeyers.
On Saturday, Lindsey wrote that she expects this stay at BCCH to last at least six weeks. They got settled in where, as Lindsey wrote, “It’s familiar so settling in was pretty easy.”
Ferris, if you’re new here, needs a kidney transplant, and the family was given the OK to look for a live donor a few months ago. A transplant won’t happen now, at least not while Ferris works to overcome this setback.
According to Lindsey, “Ferris handled things like a champ” on Saturday. “No tears aside from the IV . . . and it took a few attempts. She was over it before they were done drawing the blood. She’s not responding to any of the treatment we’ve provided at home really. Still spiking fevers, her drain fluid is awful and she just doesn’t feel good. They started her on IV antifungals . . .”
When you find a moment of quiet time in your schedule, have a thought for Ferris and her family. They really will appreciate it.
“I’m continually amazed and sometimes wonder why people seem to love us so much and just come together and help us,” Lindsey wrote. “We are soooo greatful for everybody!”
Had all of this not happened, the Backmeyers would have been starting a two-week camping trip. So much for that. But such is life when you live with someone who has kidney disease.
Late Sunday night, Lindsey wrote: “Huge thanks for all the support, prayers and good vibes . . . they are getting us through!”
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
If you were one of those who donated to Dorothy for the 2020 Kidney Walk, you will be interested in the tweet that follows. By donating, you became a member of Dorothy’s Team and you will find her name on the list. Check it out . . . and thank you for your support. . . . She has raised $3,190 for the 2020 Kidney Walk and her page remains open for donations right here.
Dave McKeague, 72, and his daughter Caileen, both of Saskatoon, have taken part in the Kidney Walk for the past four years. . . . Dave is in kidney failure and on dialysis. . . . Caileen found out more than a year ago that she is a match, and now all that’s needed is a date for transplant surgery at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon. . . . They had hoped to have it done in April or May, but the pandemic got in the way. That means they still are waiting for a date. . . . Brady Ratzlaff of Global News has their story right here.