Before the setting sun appeared over the mountainside, we were on our way to the hospital so the doctor could implant an access into the lining of my husband’s stomach. The access will enable him to begin kidney dialysis. After two to three weeks of healing and then two weeks of training, the dialysis will start.
This is the end of a journey of freedom as we know it, the closing of another chapter in our lives, but the beginning of a new chapter with some limitations. For eighteen months now, a food plan and exercise program has kept him dialysis free. But stress and strain from putting his eighty-five-year-old mom in a local nursing home, finally put his kidneys below the dialysis functioning point.
On a dreary November day a year and a half ago, the doctor told us, “Mr. Meeks, if you don’t start kidney dialysis now, you are going to die.” He sent us home for thirty days to decide the type of dialysis we would choose.
I didn’t hear much after, “You are going to die.” When the rug has been pulled out from underneath you, you bow the knee...and
bow the knee we did. We drove to Tennessee to a year old planned, Christmas Trip in silence. Twenty hours of driving and a night in a motel helped us tell our son our gloom and doom. He took the news just as hard as we did, but the three weeks there with him, implementing our new diet, and exercising thirty minutes a day, five days a week, brought us good news when we returned to New Mexico.
“Mr. Meeks, you have improved somewhat,” the doctor told us as we started months of additional doctor appointments, laboratory tests, blood examinations and analyses. “We can hold off dialysis this month,” he added. After three straight months of improvement, he was shocked at Pat’s progress and dialysis was delayed another thirty days. We lived like this for almost a year.
“You have to understand, half of Artesia are praying for him,” we explained.
“Keep it up. You need all the extra help you can get at this point.”
He approved a mission trip to New York City with our Church six months after his dismal diagnosis and Pat’s kidney function and fraction had raised to twenty-two percent. We claimed this miracle with thanksgiving. I’m sure people grew weary of my constant talking of Jesus healing power over my husband of forty years, but I didn’t care, I had to spread the news.
For three straight months now, his functioning level has dropped. The dialysis date is here. The access is in, and our training for the peritoneal dialysis is around the corner.
“This type of dialysis is improving every day.” The surgeon explained. “You will feel so much better. You won’t believe how bad you felt. You can live on peritoneal dialysis for fifteen to twenty years with very few problems, and before you get really sick, you have a choice of the type of dialysis you can do.” He added.
We have a peaceful attitude now, not like that dreadful, early winter day. God has helped us learn about our future, our new chapter in life, and we can do this. He will hook up to a machine at night while he sleeps as God is holding his hand. He has changed our panic to a quiet inner strength.
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