Deka Lake resident Dave Wix, 70, has kidney disease and he travels to Williams Lake three days a week for four-hour dialysis sessions.
His trips from Deka to Williams Lake and back take around two hours each way.
Dave says he would rather take his dialysis treatments at 100 Mile District General Hospital, which would cut his travel time in half.
This past April, Dave says he wasn’t feeling good and had a shortness of breath, so he went to the local hospital to see what was wrong. He was sent to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops immediately.
“I was there for four days and the doctors checked me out, did blood work and a whole bunch of stuff and then told me I had kidney failure.”
Dave was sent home because the doctors couldn’t fit him into the schedule for the prep work to get him on dialysis treatment.
“I was back home for about four days, and then I went back to Kamloops for four days waiting to have a catheter put in so he could start dialysis.”
He had a choice of going to Kamloops or Williams Lake for his four-hour dialysis treatment three times a week.
Dave chose to go to Williams Lake and he drove there for the first two weeks. His wife, Mary Ann, went with him.
“She just wanted to make sure I felt OK to drive back home again. I always drove home because I didn’t have any problems.”
Then they found out about the HandyDART making trips to Williams Lake.
Dave leaves home at 6:45 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to get to the Coach House Square parking lot in time for a 7:45 a.m. pickup to get to Cariboo Memorial Hospital in time for his 9 a.m. treatment.
The bus picks him and two other renal ward patients up after their treatments at 1:30 p.m., and he gets back home at 4 p.m.
Dave says he knows there are five area residents who need treatment; two go to Kamloops and the rest go to Williams Lake.
“One of the ladies who goes to Williams Lakes stays at Mill Site Lodge because her husband lives there and the other one lives at Bridge Lake and her husband brings her in.”
He would like to get his treatments done in 100 Mile House because it would be closer to home, it would reduce his travel time and he could gain two more hours for himself.
Noting a doctor, dietician and social worker travel to Williams Lake every three months, Dave says he thinks they could provide the same service in 100 Mile House.
“Travelling to Williams Lake is OK now, but during the winter it’s a safety issue. If the bus doesn’t run, then people have to drive to Williams Lake and that can be risky.”
Dave says people can eliminate the driving issue by becoming a home Hemodialysis patients, but he notes all of the responsibility for the treatment is on the patients and the caregivers who have to take a two-month training program. They are responsible for keeping sanitary conditions and storing a month’s supply of liquid, which is pumped into the patient’s stomach, and the machine.
He adds the patient can do the treatment overnight every day or go through four one-hour sessions during the day.
Noting he couldn’t go through that process, Dave says he knows of one woman who did it for a year, but stopped because it was too much hassle.
The other option is having a kidney transplant, but he didn’t bother signing up for the list because it takes around eight years.
“I could be 80 years old by the time I got a new kidney, so why bother pursuing it.”
Noting there are six dialysis machines in Williams Lake, he says the nurses are overloaded with patients and they would like to see dialysis treatment being done in 100 Mile House.”
He says there are smaller communities in British Columbia that have dialysis chairs and machines.
Dave adds he would like to see a couple of chairs at the local hospital because one in 10 people will be diagnosed with having kidney disease.
“So it would save people the stress of having to travel to get treatment and it would be safer. I think it could, and should, happen in 100 Mile House.”