Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Laurelhurst Resident And Dialysis Patient Needs Funds To Live

Charda Hastings, a long-time Laurelhurst resident, who we profiled in April detailing her hard life with medical challenges being on dialysis and waiting for a kidney transplant sent the Laurelhurst Blog another update:

I WANT TO LIVE says Charda, Dialysis Patient
My name is Charda Hastings.  I was born and raised in Ballard and graduated from Ballard High School with honors.  I have lived in the Laurelhurst community for 15 years. I suffer from polycystic kidney and liver disease (PKD) and have been on dialysis for 10 years. The disease is hereditary.  My grandmother died with PKD before there was dialysis. My mom got sick with kidney failure in 1971 when I was 5 years old.  My mother went on the first kidney machine, which was inside a Sears toolbox. My mom taught me to sterilize and administer dialysis to her.  I took care of her and supported us with 3 paper routes. I took care of her until she died when I was 22 years old.
I had many kidney infections when I was young. So the doctor that was caring for my mom said let's test Charda for PKD.   When I turned 18 years old, I started having high blood pressure problems.  At 38 years old, my kidneys failed and I had to go on dialysis or die.  A Kidney Transplant is my ultimate goal.  I need help to raise at least $8400 for Kidney Transplant After Care.  http://www.gofundme.com/2a7xt0  
The rate for a care giver is $25.00 per hour.  The University of Washington Hospital requires that I have a caregiver for 24 hrs per day for 3 weeks post transplant. Just the cost of caregiver is $8,400.00, which I do not have.  So I  have decided to offer instead a flat fee of $5,000 and would negotiate time for caregiver to keep their own lives going by having some time to go home, as long as they can be reached via cell. 
Why do I need to ask for help?  I have Medicare because I am on dialysis.  We fought for this many years ago for the dialysis patients.  If you have Medicare, you may not apply for the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.  Medicare will not cover the expense of a caregiver for 3 weeks around the clock.   
My caregiver will have to shop for me and make sure they are available to take me at a moment’s notice to the  University of Washington Hospital.  I also am including  feeding said caregiver.  I also know that there will be extra expenses, such as meds post transplant that will not be covered, which i will have to pay for out of pocket.  Plan on paying for parking for each visit, which if i go in every morning for blood work will be expensive. Other items i have to purchase, for example are gloves, masks, infection control gowns, and wound care supplies and lots of Purell.  I think this is just the very bare necessities I will need.

Unfortunately, I have many other illnesses besides kidney failure, such as Fibromyalgia, which I was diagnosed with in 1992.  So because of the damage from Fibromyalgia and dialysis treatment, I have lived with severe chronic pain on a daily basis since 1992.  One side effect of  dialysis is neuropathy.   Neuropathy is a very painful illness that affects your nerve endings.  Unfortunately, if proper infection control is not followed, patients are at risk.  I happened to get a very bad case of Van co-resistant staph infection in my blood stream.  
I lost my lower left leg and foot and almost all of my fingers. I almost lost my life.  I was unconscious for 8-12 weeks.  Dialysis is very hard on your body.   When I started dialysis I was 38 years old.  I was told once by a doctor that one dialysis treatment of 4-5 hours is equivalent to running in a marathon. I have never ran a marathon but I can attest that I feel as if I have run many miles post dialysis every treatment.   Dialysis is completely exhausting and after being on it for 10 years, I can assure you I no longer have quality of life.  I come home after dialysis and I go to bed and I sleep until the next morning to recover even then I need the following day to just rest and I take a couple more naps.  By the next dialysis day, I feel like I might recover but now it's time for dialysis again.  So i start over.  
Asking for help is not who I am.  I was raised to work and take care of myself.  But this is bigger than me and I need help if I want to live.  AND I WANT TO LIVE.  http://www.gofundme.com/2a7xt0

Contact Barbara Hawkins at oneracehuman@gmail.com or Karen Fies at karin.fies@gmail.com if you can help.

And Charda can be reached at 206-527-0661.

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