Lac Seul First Nation resident celebrates 25 years on dialysis
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s satellite dialysis unit, located at the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, recently celebrated a milestone for Lac Seul First Nation resident George Gray on Feb. 21, who has been on dialysis for 25 years now.
A diagnosis of glomerulonephritis led to Gray starting dialysis treatments at the former General Hospital in 1995. Gray receives treatments three times a week, for four hours at a time, to get his blood cleaned.
“He’s on hemodialysis, which means his kidneys don’t function any longer. He was in end-stage renal failure, all of our patients are, so George comes three times a week for four hours to get his blood cleaned. Typically, it is very significant that he’s been on it for 25 years… Often times it’s definitely not that long, so it’s quite a feat. They need to have their blood cleaned to survive. A normal working kidney filters out all of the toxins that our bodies don’t need and they don’t have working kidneys, so they get put on dialysis, we hook them up to a machine, and it cleans their blood. There are a lot of restrictions for our patients on dialysis, which includes diet and fluid restrictions,” said Lindsey Hordy, registered nurse.
“This is a satellite unit of Thunder Bay Regional (Hospital), so Thunder Bay Regional (Hospital) has a large hemodialysis program. They have satellite units in Sioux Lookout and Fort Frances. We’re not certain if he is the person with the longest amount of years on hemodialysis in our program, but he’s definitely one of the longest on dialysis. It’s quite a celebration,” she said.
“It felt pretty good… I’m glad I’ve made it this far… I started dialysis at the old General Hospital. I was one of the first patients there when it started,” said George Gray, who said he has remained on dialysis by choice over other treatment options.
He shared of the celebration held for him, “They bought me some scratch tickets and they gave me a card and all the nurses signed it… It was wonderful. It actually brought me to tears that they did that for me.”
Gray said listening to doctors, and following the strict restrictions, has been important to his longevity on dialysis.
“I just take things day by day. I try to do my best like following what the dieticians tell me. I do my best to listen to the doctors, and I try to live a healthy lifestyle. You have to watch what you eat. You can’t eat a lot of goodies I guess you could say,” he said.
March 12 will mark this year’s World Kidney Day. Their website, worldkidneyday.org, describes the annual campaign, "All across the globe many hundred events take place from public screenings in Argentina to Zumba marathons in Malaysia. We do it all to create awareness. Awareness about preventive behaviors, awareness about risk factors, and awareness about how to live with a kidney disease. We do this because we want kidney health for all.”