About me - I worked for Coors for over 40 years. I was born in Michigan, went to the University of Michigan and then moved out here to be an engineer. I bought a house in Arvada, raised my kids here. I …
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I worked for Coors for over 30 years. I was born in Michigan, went to the University of Michigan and then moved out here to be an engineer. I bought a house in Arvada, raised my kids here. I have three kids and three grandkids.
I got sick after I retired from Coors. That was in 2008. It started off with mild symptoms like dehydration, but with that you just kind of lose it a bit; you can’t think straight. Up until that point I was pretty heathy. I’d even spent my last few years at Coors building a brewery in Virginia, working 14-hour days.
After I retired, I was working as a volunteer at Lutheran Medical Center a few days a week. I started getting sicker around then and things just kind of went downhill to the point that they were airlifting me to Ochsner Medical Center near New Orleans for a transplant.
I was going into complete organ failure; my organs were leaking fluid into my abdomen and I’d have to go in every two weeks to get it drained — about six liters of fluid in me. Then it got progressively worse, with all the swelling from the fluid retention.
My liver had failed, my kidneys were in terrible shape. I was taken to Ochsner in an airlift. I remember them wheeling me off the airplane and then I don’t remember anything for months.
But I woke up hearing my son’s voice. Apparently, it was about two months before I got the transplant down there. My kids had a hotel room and they would switch off staying with me. I spent a few months rehabbing down there, and when I came back, I was 120 pounds and I couldn’t walk. I had been at Ochsner for about six months.
The kidney I got there was marginal, so it wasn’t the healthiest to start with. About a year and a half ago I got really dehydrated and passed out at the pharmacy. My doctor said, “that’s it, you have to go on dialysis.”
Now I go in for dialysis every couple of days. It’s a pretty rough process. Getting two IV’s and all that stuff is not a pleasant thing to do every other day. When you get done with it you feel really run out, it feels like your energy’s drained. And usually that night I won’t be super active, but by the next day I’ve recovered enough that I can resume cutting the lawn or doing what I’ve got to do.
All my kids got tested and aren’t able to be donors for me. Some of my friends have gotten tested too, but none of them were a match either. I’m on the transplant list, but because I’m so far down, I’d need a living donor to get one in time.
There’s too much in life. I’m 71 years old. I’m not going to be around forever. I enjoy spending time with the grandkids, I enjoy going out with my sons and my daughter. We all like to go hunting sometimes. It’s hard when you can only be gone a day or so and then you’ve got to come back and get dialysis.
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