There’s a saying, when an angel misses you, they toss a penny down from heaven. McMinnville area patients living with kidney disease hope you become that angel and donate pocket change for life-sustaining dialysis.
For the rest of this month, Fresenius of McMinnville will collect pocket change donations at the clinic located at 1428 Sparta Street. Anything is accepted, including pennies.
“Our patients are like family,” said Fresenius of McMinnville clinic manager Sharon Woodlee-Denton. “We see them three times a week for treatment. We know who their grandchildren are. In a rural setting like this, you know everybody or you’re kin to others. I love working in smaller clinics like this one. They are like family and I treat them like family.”
To help its patients improve their quality of life, Fresenius in turn relies on the efforts of the Tennessee Kidney Foundation to provide education, advocacy and the promotion of organ donation to patients and the public alike. Fresenius clinics throughout the mid-state are raising money for the foundation to support those efforts.
Denton says there is a stigma of fatality that surrounds kidney disease.
“It’s a knowledge deficit,” she said. “Some people hear that they have Stage 5 kidney failure and think ‘Oh, I’m going to die. That’s not true. There have been some wonderful advancements in treatments. Patients who follow the recommendations of their nephrologist, RNs, dietitians and social workers, cannot only survive but thrive.”
Fresenius Medical Care home therapy charge nurse Melissa Scott says patients can come into the clinic three times a week for in-center treatment or they can opt for in-home treatment with hemodialysis done three times a week or peritoneal dialysis that is done daily.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize that there are options when it comes to dialysis,” said Scott. “You have in-center hemodialysis, but as far as home dialysis, you can do home hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis which is closer to your normal kidney function because you are doing it every day. Peritoneal dialysis is a lot of gradual and a lot easier on the body. They usually have a more liberal diet with peritoneal dialysis because they are doing it every day.”
In-home hemodialysis requires a second person to assist in order to monitor during the treatment. However, peritoneal dialysis can be done by the patient without assistance. Both in-home treatments requires patients to come into the clinic twice a month.
People with kidney disease have to do every treatment, take their medication and do their part by taking the diagnosis seriously. Patients who suffer renal failure must not only receive frequent hours-long dialysis treatments and take medications, they must also live by strict dietary guidelines.
Through dialysis does effectively remove toxins and water from the body that would otherwise be removed by a healthy kidney; the 12 hours spent each week in that treatment are no match for the 168 hours each week that a healthy kidney would have spent in the effort. That leaves quite a bit of the onus to avoid known toxins on the patient.
Some toxins to be avoided, like alcohol and tobacco, are obvious; but other, less obvious threats are produced internally as the kidney fails to process the byproducts of protein creation or to filter excess sodium and potassium from the body. Without an effective flushing system removing them, these can quickly build to toxic levels in the body. And without either a kidney transplant or life-sustaining dialysis, this toxic buildup proves fatal within weeks.
Of the 123,000 Americans currently on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant, more than 101,000 need a kidney. However, according to the National Kidney Foundation, only 17,000 of those waiting for a kidney will receive one each year due to the lack of donors. Each day, a dozen people die waiting for a kidney.
Locally, the Tennessee Kidney Foundation (TKF) is working to educate the public about kidney disease and organ donation through speaker bureaus, health fairs and literature distribution.
TKF also makes a significant impact on Fresenius patients by assisting with emergency financial needs and transportation to and from the clinic.
Fresenius of McMinnville staff hope to raise $200 by collecting pocket change.