Ferris ‘definitely turned a corner’ and winning hearts of the nurses . . . Tips on asking for a kidney

It was a Happy Canada Day for the Backmeyer family of Kamloops as Lindsey reported via Facebook on Wednesday that Ferris, her three-year-old daughter, has “definitely turned a corner!”

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Ferris wants you to know that her appetite is returning. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

Ferris is in need of a kidney transplant and is on the list, but the process stalled after she developed fungal peritonitis last week. As a result, her parents, Lindsey and Pat, had to take her to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. Patients with kidney disease who are doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) fear peritonitis. In this instance, Ferris had to have her catheter removed and has been transitioned to hemodialysis — she began with a three-hour run on Monday. She had been doing PD at home since she was 14 months old.

On Wednesday, Lindsey reported that Ferris’s “pain is less and we haven’t needed morphine since Monday afternoon but are still reliant on regular Tylenol. She slept 12 hours straight (Tuesday) night and I got a solid nine hours . . . it was so so good!”

Ferris’s oxygen levels also have gotten better so she no longer is wearing a monitor.

For now, as Ferris continues the transition to hemo, she is on a diet that restricts fluid and food intake.

“It’s soooo weird for her to be constantly asking for food and actually eating food,” Lindsey wrote. “If anything it confirms my belief that she will go back to being an oral eater once she gets a kidney transplant.”

Lindsey also said they could be looking at “a long time” in Vancouver. In fact, she said, “It could be until transplant.”

Eventually, doctors will try to get Ferris back on PD, but in order for that to happen another catheter will have to be put in place. When might that happen? Lindsey said she was told “three weeks . . . by nephrology; however, urology said three months.”

She added: “We’ve also been told that there is only a 50% success rate of peritoneal dialysis after having a fungal peritonitis. I’m trying not to get too stressed about what that means for our family.”

For now, Lindsey and Pat are staying in Kitsilano, but will move to Ronald McDonald House in about four weeks. Ferris’s older sisters, Ksenia and Tavia, who remained in Kamloops, are expected to visit in the near future.

In the meantime, Ferris spent Monday “eating all the food, colouring and playing Play-Doh!”

And it will bring a smile to your face to hear that “she’s winning the hearts of all the nurses, which of course doesn’t surprise me one little bit!”

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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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca


It’s official! Nova Scotia will be turning to a system of presumed consent for organ and tissue donation as of Jan. 18. The legislature passed the law in April 2019, and when it takes effect Nova Scotia will be the first province in Canada to go that route. . . . What it means is that if a person is going to have to take steps to opt out if he/she doesn’t want to be an organ donor. . . . “I fully expect that we’re going to have the best donation rates in the country in a few years. That’s my objective,” Dr. Stephen Beed, the medical director of the province’s organ and tissue donation program, told Michael Gorman of CBC News. “I want to be able to provide the best opportunity we can for Nova Scotians by having the best program in the country, and that’s where I want us to be. Now we have the support to do it.” . . . Gorman’s story is right here.




Friends waiting for kidney transplants forced to wait even longer by pandemic . . . We thought three were getting close to getting THE phone call

The Kamloops Kidney Support Group, which used to meet twice a month, hasn’t held a get-together since March 11. And we don’t have any idea when we next will see each other.

Look, the novella coronavirus is horrible, absolutely terrible, but, gee, it’s timing could have been better, at least for a few kidney friends.

Prior to the arrival of the virus and everything it brought with it, we had hoped that three of our regulars— each of them battling kidney disease — were nearing an eagerly awaited new chapter in their lives.

Two of them are doing peritoneal dialysis at home, meaning they hook up to a unit known as a cycler that performs a fluid exchange while they sleep. This procedure takes about eight hours every single night. There aren’t any nights off.

The other person is doing hemodialysis, a procedure that calls for three visits a week to the dialysis unit at the local hospital, with each run taking about four hours.

Two months ago, when our group last met, all three were alive with nervous anticipation as they looked forward to impending medical appointments in Vancouver. The medical community is extremely tight-lipped when transplants hang in the balance, and rightfully so, but we all were feeling (hoping?) that these meetings meant that the end of depending on a machine to keep them alive was nigh.

Then came the coronavirus and cancelled appointments, and, yes, disappointment. And now, with organ transplants seemingly on hold, at least for the short term, it is back to the waiting game.

But there isn’t a kidney patient out there who hasn’t had to deal with adversity and who doesn’t live one day at a time.

These friends also have to deal with the fact that they have weakened immune systems so are high-risk at the best of times, never mind when something like this coronavirus may be lurking around the next corner.

My wife, Dorothy, was one of the lucky ones, having had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. Now she takes anti-rejection medications twice a day. These meds stop her body from rejecting the kidney that really is a foreign body making a home inside her.

But those same life-saving meds leave her with a compromised immune system, so, yes, we are extra careful these days. We order groceries online and pick them up. We get meat from a butcher shop by phoning in an order and picking it up. We’ve ordered wine online . . . and jigsaw puzzles . . . and crossword books . . . and on and on.

Meanwhile, Ed Warkentin of Oliver, B.C., drives to Penticton three times a week to undergo hemodialysis. His wait for a new kidney has been ongoing for years and he hasn’t any idea as to what lays ahead.

Annick Lim of Penticton underwent a kidney transplant more than 20 years ago. She has been self-isolating for more than 50 days and, although she has been called back to work, she can’t go because of her compromised immune system.

She also is dealing with something with which my wife has had to come to grips. Nephrologists monitor transplant patients through regular bloodwork. As long as you’re feeling OK, better not to venture into such situations these days, they both were told.

Chelsea Powrie of castanet.net has more on Warkentin and Lim right here.

——

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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca


With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


In a perfect world, every single person in need of a kidney transplant would get one pre-emptively, meaning before he or she had to experience dialysis. So why aren’t there more pre-emptive transplants? . . . Jim Myers, a National Kidney Foundation advocate in the United States, writes about that right here.


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