Circle of Care June 2017

By Annelle Norman

Circle of Care trustees are members of our community from all walks of life, of all ages, with many talents and qualities. Savilla Kress brings a unique perspective to our board as a kidney transplant recipient. Following is an excerpt from her journal that she wrote many years ago when she was recovering from surgery.

“We are taught at an early age how to do things for ourselves. We should never have to depend on others to do things we should be doing for ourselves. It is empowering to be capable and self-reliant. When I went into renal failure, and my health rapidly declined, I was still optimistic that I could take care of myself. However, I struggled with daily routine, and I became weaker by the day.

The designer who hired me to model her dresses noticed that I had lost a lot of weight, and she heard me vomit in the ladies’ room. She assumed that I was anorexic, and she called me into her office to have a stern talk. She said, ‘Look, I have two teenage daughters. I cannot have a model with an eating disorder working for me. What kind of example does that set for them?’

I told her I was not anorexic, but I was sick. I was in end-stage renal failure. I hadn’t told her about my illness, because I was afraid I would lose my job. I had refused dialysis, because I was hoping I would get better on my own. The designer said to me, ‘If you don’t start dialysis, you will lose your job. You will lose your life.’ I hadn’t told my family either, because I didn’t want them to worry, and the last thing I wanted was sympathy.

Being a private person, I didn’t want to discuss my health with others. I also felt that most people don’t want to hear about someone else’s problems. As daily tasks became more difficult for me, I realized I did need help. A friend told me, ‘People want to help … it makes them feel good. So why would you deny them that opportunity?’

I didn’t know anyone else with kidney disease. I had supportive friends and family, but I felt that no one could fully understand what I was going through. I contacted the Kidney Foundation, and I volunteered. I connected with several individuals with similar stories – some on dialysis, others who had had
transplants.

After my successful kidney transplant, I met a young woman whose body eventually rejected her transplanted kidney. A few days before she passed away, she asked me to visit her in the hospital. It was my birthday, but I would have other birthdays.

I went to her because she asked me, but I also went for myself. Someday I might be the one requesting a friend’s visit. We all need help sometimes, and we all need to give. Sometimes a warm smile or lending an ear is the best gift you can give.”

If you are one of those people who want to help, please contact us on 945-5222 or at prcircleofcare@gmail.com. If you are in need of assistance, please let us know.

Point Roberts Circle of Care is offering scholarship funds for residents who would like to train to become a certified Home Care Aid. Please contact us for more information or to apply.

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