‘Six and Twenty’ learns about kidney disease

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WILMINGTON — Six and Twenty met on Nov. 4 at the First Christian Church in Wilmington.

Beverly Drapalik was hostess and program leader for the day. The program centered on kidney disease and kidney donation in the United States. A surprising 100,000 people are waiting on a kidney transplant in the U.S. Equally surprising, one in seven people have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Today, there is no age limit for receiving a kidney; the physical condition of a kidney recipient outweighs the age of the recipient.

Drapalik asked members to “google” Kate Snow’s report from Jan. 6, 2022, which was broadcast on the Today Show. The report’s title is “How a ‘kidney chain’ is saving lives: ‘An awesome gift.’”

The report highlights 12 people, across six states, who created a “kidney chain.” It is a five-minute, inspirational report, worthy of viewing. When a patient can’t find a match, even within his own family, some people are agreeing to donate a kidney to a stranger at another hospital in another city. This creates the chain. With a living donor, a transplant can take place in months instead of years.

A deceased donor’s kidney is also an option, and may be available sooner than a living donor’s. Many times a deceased donor’s kidney is deemed less than desirable; actually now kidneys can be treated for disease and become safe for recipients.

CKD cannot be cured—only treated. Transplant is the first option for a patient with worsening CKD. The only other option is dialysis. Dialysis in a center is usually Monday, Wednesday, Friday, for four hours approximately. Dialysis can be done at home, nightly, for five or six days a week.

Some symptoms of CKD are swelling of feet and hands, fatigue, urination changes, sleep problems, muscle cramps, itchy skin, and high blood pressure. A simple blood test can determine CKD.

Two hospitals in Cincinnati perform kidney transplants: UC Health and Christ.

Drapalik shared the story of her kidney transplant at UC. Her living donor is her daughter-in-law, who was driving after two weeks and was “feeling pretty good four weeks after surgery.” No life changes are required of donors; recipients take anti-rejection drugs, wear masks when in crowds, and adhere to dietary restrictions.

At the conclusion of the program, members of the club asked many questions. Members were given chocolate candy as a take-home treat. They were also given kidney-friendly water.

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