While so many selfish folks chose to spend at least part of their Wednesday afternoon making fools of themselves in front of and around various hospitals, I couldn’t help but think of Ferris Backmeyer and Zach Tremblay and their families.
Ferris, 4, is from Kamloops; Zach, 18, is from Robson, B.C., which is across the Columbia River from Castlegar.
Both of these young people are awaiting kidney transplants. Each already has undergone one transplant, only to have it fail almost immediately.
Ferris has been on dialysis, either hemo or peritoneal, almost all of her young life; Zach does hemo-dialysis three times a week, but has to make the 65-kilometre round trip to Trail in order to get his treatment.
They both are at high risk of infection from any number of viruses, including COVID-19, as, of course, are thousands of others.
Of course, yesterday’s protesters lack the ability to see past the end of their noses, so they wouldn’t be aware of the number of immunocompromised people who live in their communities. If you want to protest about having your freedoms taken away, maybe you should speak with a few people who live with compromised immune systems and maybe learn what they have been going through while trying to stay alive during this pandemic.
(As an aside, you really have to wonder just how goofy some of these people can get. One week they are wanting to get horse medicine into their guts to help them fight this dastardly virus, and you shake your head and think that’s rock bottom. But then the clown cars show up in front of hospitals and it becomes obvious that, hey, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.)
But we digress . . .
Kidney disease and the wait for a transplant often means sessions in Vancouver with members of a medical team. Such was the case recently for Ferris and Zach.
Zach was being transitioned from a team at B.C. Children’s Hospital to one at Vancouver General Hospital that works with adults who are awaiting transplants. At the same time, Ferris and her mother, Lindsey, were at BCCH.
Yes, Ferris and Zach finally met. In fact, Lindsey reported that Zach “is Ferris’s new bestie. He’s such and amazing kid and just connected with my girls instantly.”
When Lindsey writes about the medical issues being experienced by Ferris the pain oftentimes cuts the reader almost like a scalpel.
Earlier this year, Ferris underwent a kidney transplant in Vancouver, but the new kidney was removed almost immediately after being transplanted.
Since then, well, it really is a game of wait and see, except that it’s hardly a game.
This week, Lindsey offered an update via Facebook, as she is wont to do, and this one hurts. . .
“Well when it rains it always pours in our world. We got what feels like devastating news (Tuesday) morning from Ferris’s transplant nephrologist.
“Her Anti off testing was repeated and it’s shown that Ferris has become highly sensitive. Not sure at all when the 30% antibodies were drawn but she is now sitting at 99%. From my understanding they have a fancy calculation that looks at all the organs that were donated in the past 5 years across Canada and all age groups. What percentage would have been a match for Ferris . . . 1 friggin percent.
“It’s changed everything. They are going to increase immunosuppression to try and prevent them increasing to 100% because, as he reminded me, it can always be worse.
“This terrifies me in the season of a friggin pandemic against a respiratory virus that my child doesn’t have any protection against. In a climate where now not only one but both of her parents will be working in close contact with patients that are infected.
“Her future is so incredibly uncertain . . . more so than it already was?? How can that even be a thing.
“Their goal still is to get her transplanted but the odds are NOT in her favour. I have never felt more confident in our decisions to making memories our number one priority. Everything needs to shift and her quality of life will come above everything else.
“I feel shattered and it’s hard to breathe. It’s just been so incredibly overwhelming and the constant feelings of fight or flight are wearing me down.
“It’s so important for us to really embrace where we are at right now because the reality of our situation is that this is likely the ‘good’ and I hope to keep things this way for as long as it takes!”
I should mention that Lindsey is a registered respiratory therapist at Royal Inland Hospital, while Pat is in nursing school at Thompson Rivers U.
That won’t mean anything to the protesters who got their 15 minutes on Wednesday afternoon in front of and around RIH. But it should.
If you are able to help, our friend Vic Morin of Kamloops is in need of a kidney transplant . . .
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
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.
Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca