National Kidney Month

March is National Kidney Month, and I’ve been doing a lot of traveling. I know that on my website I have mentioned that being on PD limits my ability to travel, and that is still true. I cannot travel very far and if I do, I forfeit my spot in the transplant waiting list. However, these trips have always been in close proximity to Portland - a quick drive away, or a short plane ride (if needed).

Whenever I leave the Portland area, I always let OHSU know of my whereabouts in case a kidney were to become available. By communicating with them, they let me know whether I am in traveling distance to remain on the list.

 Sea Lions lounging on the dock in Newport, Oregon.

Sea Lions lounging on the dock in Newport, Oregon.

My first trip was at the beginning of the month to the Oregon Coast. I travelled there to spend time with my mom for her birthday. It my first short weekend trip and packing and preparing for it was fairly easy. Because I had my car, I was able to bring all my stuff myself, instead of having it delivered there. I brought my machine, my prescription dialysis solutions, and my other PD supplies.

Here is my setup:

 My dialysis machine and my supplies for a two night trip. 

My dialysis machine and my supplies for a two night trip. 

At the end of the month, I travelled to Klamath Falls and Salinas, California.

 View from the train, somewhere on Willamette Pass, OR. 

View from the train, somewhere on Willamette Pass, OR. 

Klamath Fall is about 5 hour drive from Portland and it is where I grew up, so I knew that I would still be active on the list, but I wasn't sure about what would happen to my status when I went to California. However, when I called OHSU they confirmed that, if needed, I could catch an airplane and be in Portland in enough time. This meant that during my 6 day trip, I was still active on the list.

Packing and prepping to my long visit took much more preparation and planning. First off, I had to make sure I have enough dialysis solution, bags, and cassettes for my visit.  Since, I had stayed in Klamath over the holidays, I had leftover supplies from my visit. This allowed me to skip ordering more supplies to be delivered to Klamath. However, I still needed to bring my machine, emergency kit and everyday supplies. The heavy machine takes up about one HUGE suitcase and must be with me at all times. It cannot be checked, and so I carry it on the train with me. My second suitcase must also always be with me and consists of my emergency kit and everyday supplies (medications, bleach cleaners, gauze, tape, blood pressure cuff, masks, thermometer... the list seems endless). And let's not forget my clothes and toiletries!

I am probably a sight to see with all my stuff; two suitcases, a backpack and a lunchbox. Thank goodness the train allows me to carry all my things on board.

Traveling and being on PD is a pain, but in the grand scheme of things it is all worth it. I wanted to spend time with my family and be with the people who matter to me and that I love very much.

 Me and my grandparents in California. 

Me and my grandparents in California. 

I look forward to the day that I receive my kidney transplant and travel freely.