Thursday, April 3, 2014

Interesting Laurelhurst Resident And Dog In Need Of Mother-in-law In Neighborhood

Charda and her dog, Ginger

In the recent issue of the Laurelhurst Newsletter, published by the Laurelhurst Community Club, a small ad seeking immediate housing, caught the eye of the Laurelhurst Blog Staff. 

So we reached out to Charda Hastings, currently living on East Laurel Drive, who posted the ad, to learn more about her and found out about the medical hardships she has endured. 

Charda spent her childhood caring for her mother, who suffered from kidney disease, and then ended up herself being diagnosed with the same disease at eighteen years old. Charda's mother ended up dying when Charda was only twenty two years old.

We spoke with Charda, who is currently looking for a mother-in-law apartment, preferably still in Laurelhurst, to rent for a minimum fee as she is on a fixed income.

She told us that she has lived as a guest of Henry Tenckhoff in his studio apartment for 15 years, but now must move.

Many neighbors have met Charda, who is in a wheelchair, while she is out walking with her dog, Ginger, who is six years old.

She writes:
I love living in this neighborhood everyone watches out for each other and our animals and everyone is so friendly.The thought of having to leave this wonderful neighborhood I feel so safe in and love to chat on our walk's is very sad to me. If I don't find a place, I will be forced to move into low income where I feel I will be unsafe. Unfortunately,  there are approximately 10,000 people waiting on low income list.  I am one of those people on the list.  

Charda told us that she met Henry when she was five years old in 1971, who is now a retired nephrologist, when her mother went on dialyses and he was her doctor.   

She writes:
This was back when dialysis was new and there were very few machines and so patient's were picked with criteria of age, did they have small children, could they raise enough. $10,000 dollars is what Ballard hospital raised for my mother.   So the committee let her live.
So when I turned 10 years old my mom taught me to administer dialysis to her. So I took care of her till she died.  I was 22 when she died. 
She had asked Dr Tenckhoff to make sure I was okay as she knew her kidney disease was hereditary and that indeed I would need dialysis at some point too. I have pkd- polycystic kidney and liver disease and have been on dialysis for 9 years now. 
I worked in dialysis for a total of 17 years before I went on the machine myself.  I am working on getting a transplant at the UW.  I had 4 calls for transplants and they were not the best matches for me.  I got an infection from an injury so I am on hold until it is treated. 

Charda told us about some of her hobbies and what she has been up to:
For a few years I taught "Living Well With Chronic Conditions" classes at Group Health.  I enjoy seeing the new born hummingbirds that I feed all winter and until there are blooming flowers in backyard. 
I enjoy reading, walking Ginger, and I have been asked by several friends and my doctors to write an auto-biography.   I am working on this now.   
I have endured and lived through many medical things that my doctors did not expect me to live through.  Such as I got a life threatening blood infection that unfortunately took my lower left leg and most of my fingers.  Life without my fingers I find the hardest to overcome as I have impossible things such as putting a harness on Ginger or unclipping her leash to walk her.  I am not able to do this.  This is just a couple things I am no longer able to do but, I still fight everyday to stay independent.   
I love talking and seeing everyone I have met in Laurelhurst.   I enjoy meeting their kids, dogs, and I look forward on every walk that I will see how each person out that walk is doing.  When I found out I needed to move I was devastated because I have lived here in Laurelhurst for 15 years but have only been well enough to walk Ginger in last two years.  Henry walked her for me for 3 of those years.

Charda was born and raised in Ballard and when her mother died in 1989 she moved to Salem, Oregon for a job with state of Oregon in human resources doing medicare billing.

In 1999 she moved back to Seattle into Henry's apartment because she was very ill.  "That particular day when I arrived there was a double rainbow over Lake Washington.  Just the confirmation I needed to feel I made the correct move," she told us.

Unfortunately Ginger her dog also has medical problems.  "She  was given prednisone for knee inflamation and ended up with insulin dependant diabetes.  She is given 2 insulin shots per day by me.  She was born with a non working thyroid. So she is on thyroid meds too," Charda told us.

Providence Hospice wrote a story about Charda in 2010, in which Charda said that at that time she  had an ejection fraction of 20% and was dying.  "My heart is completely normal at this time,"she told us.

Charda, who says she is very trustworthy, can be reached at 206-527-0661 if you have or know of a mother-in-law apartment in Laurelhurst.

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