Letter: Disturbing stories only highlights need for hemodialysis treatments in Nelson
To The Editor:
Thank you to the Nelson City Council and the Village of Kaslo for passing motions in support of the establishment of hemodialysis treatment at the Kootenay Lake Hospital.
We, renal patients, are asking our politicians, West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Board, BC Renal, and Interior Health to make it possible for us to access hemodialysis treatments in Nelson.
Instead, IHA is recommending lengthy peritoneal dialysis at home.
People who decide to undertake these dialysis treatments at home must have:
- storage for bags of solution,
- reliable source of power or a generator,
- clean, reliable water supply,
- assistance in monitoring vital signs, and
- a proper sewage system.
I’m a mobility-challenged octogenarian, who was diagnosed with kidney failure, and I lack the requisites to safely undertake lengthy peritoneal dialysis at home. Three times a week, I am forced to find my way to Trail hospital over mountain highways that pass through 6 avalanche areas; pay for my transportation and meals; and endure the perils of reduced daylight hours and the treacherous driving conditions of Kootenay winters.
There are tragic tales of those who have been forced to sell their homes and relocate because they were unable to withstand the long journey, which for some included long waits at the ferry terminals. Why — when we, the chronically ill and elderly, have reached a most vulnerable juncture in our lives — is the provincial government forcing us to forfeit the familiarity and support of our communities in order to bolster the stats of the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital?
The brave tale of Mike Sherwood extols the virtue of a man that drove me and two other passengers to Trail — at considerable financial and physical risk to himself — abruptly ends with his lonely death after transporting a patient over Kootenay Pass.
The disturbing stories told by patients, who “make do” by reducing their dialysis sessions to twice a week, should compel the health authorities and our provincial government to make hemodialysis treatments more readily available to them.
A community hemodialysis unit at the Nelson hospital would alleviate these multiple areas of concern for the renal patients in the Nelson-Creston riding, who are forced to make the arduous trek back and forth to Trail.
Millie Harper, Nelson, BC