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It was tragic, in 2010, to find out Fariborz had about 30% of his kidney function left. The likely cause, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. It was a moment when our whole world changed. He had grit. His positive attitude in the face of these circumstances was remarkable, but that just wasn't enough to survive on.
In 2012, he had to go onto dialysis. He crashed, and was in the hospital for a week. They put a catheter in his neck, and began treating the newly formed sores on his legs that were caused by severe swelling.
Donating my kidney to him was such a ray of hope. His doctors informed us that it was not possible. We were heartbroken.
He would not allow me to drive him to the dialysis clinic. It was something he tried to hide; his deep sadness. He would come home and be alone in the bedroom for hours. One day I had to ask him what was bothering him. He answered, " There are guys at dialysis that are younger than me, and I am heartbroken to see them there". I felt for him. He was always concerned with how everyone was doing, and if he could help in any way. He was just that kind of guy.
One evening we were going to watch a movie on television. I was getting some tea from the kitchen when I noticed he seemed to have fallen asleep. I came over to check on him, but he was not breathing. He had just had a massive heart attack. I immediately started CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation. I kept chest compressions going while I got 911 on my cell phone. The operator got the fire rescue on the way to our house. I then continued while she kept reassuring me it would be alright , and that now I had to get up and unlock the door for them. I rushed to do this and returned to continue CPR. They arrived about five minutes later; thank God. They put the defibrillator patches on him and shocked him, but no heartbeat or breath. They continued working on him, and packed him in ice in the ambulance for the trip to the hospital. I got a few things, secured our pets, and made my way to the local emergency room. They were still working on him, about forty five minutes now. Finally, Fariborz had this big seizure, but he was back.
He was taken to the ICU, but the news was terrible. He was in a coma now. They put him on a ventilator, and for three days, he was out.
He finally woke up. He was disoriented, and very weak. The neurologist examined him, and the bad news just kept coming. Anoxic brain injury. The lack of enough oxygen to his brain. He was never the same man I knew just moments before his heart attack .
He spent several weeks in hospital. He had an episode of delirium that lasted more than one week. The neurologist told me that he thought he would never be able to come home, and that he may have to live in an institution if he did nor recover this time.
I actually saw this remarkable miracle happen. Just like waving your hand across your face, and he was back. He recognized me. I cannot express the feelings I experienced that day, but saying I was thankful was a small consideration.
He finally came home, and we worked to get some normal back in our life. You think things just cannot get any worse, but we were now facing a new situation.
His COBRA was now over, and the insurance broker for the Kidney Foundation had signed him up with several large known health insurance companies. Each one came back with a no. What now? Well, the California insurance pool. The monthly cost for him alone would be $1,000. a month, and a private drug coverage plan would be $350. a month! We could afford the $1,350. a month and our rent, and then ???? what! We started looking to other states to find alternatives.
We landed in Washington state, and they were starting Plan F, the affordable coverage for patients with critical issues, like his organ failure. You see The Affordable Care Act did not cover organ failure patients until 2017. It really did not insure everyone in 2013.
We were able to get on with our life. We put a down payment on a lovely fixer upper, and life was getting better.
Our next task was to find a state and hospital with a shorter transplant list . He did get listed at Stanford Medical Center, and the wait was estimated to be five to eight years. Just too long.
We went to Utah, and Nevada where the list is estimated to be from nine months to eighteen months.
He also was working to complete the list of requirements for Swedish Hospital, Seattle.
Then it happened. He had gotten a crack in his heel. It was not what you may think as a life altering event, but for compromised people, it was the beginning of the end.
He was in the hospital again, in Bremerton. I got this call, and my heart sank. The doctor wanted to cut his leg off. He had gangrene in his foot, and there is really not much else you can do.
I was told about a vascular surgeon that would try to save his leg, and immediately , she had him transferred to Swedish. He was there almost six weeks, many operation, bouts of mostly happy delirium, and terrible depression from the circumstances. This was our summer of 2014, and little did I know he would not live to see another year.
He spent most of the last six months in and out of hospitals, having procedures, being transported by ambulances, staying in several rest homes, and a week or two, here and there, being home.
He could no longer walk. He had become so weakened by everything. It was December, and he could come home on hospice. That day he just beamed happiness at the possibility to come home.
We spent the next two weeks in deep conversation. He was pumping up my confidence, and I was terrified at the thought that he was going to die so soon.
The most remarkable thing he spoke to me about was his concerns for other people. He did not want anyone else to suffer as he was suffering. He asked me to see what I could do to help make a difference. I assured him with my promise, "I will make a difference somehow, I promise you".
Fariborz passed away at 5 a.m . on December 21st, 2014. He was just 58 years old. There was an unbidden peace in our home that morning. No more suffering.
I miss the love of my life every day.
I tell you this story because this is the fate of diabetes. This is what will happen to those that do not change their lifestyle to avoid this tragedy.
It took his life, our future together, and our life savings.
May the loss of his life be more than a death. May it be the catalyst for change.
This is my mission.
WE CAN CHANGE THE FUTURE FOR OUR CHILDREN.
Please join me in making a difference by generously investing in this worthy program today.