September 10 Update: Minga’s Progress

Minga wants to go home.

She’s tolerating the dialysis well, although her 10pm appointment is wreaking havoc with her sleep. On Tuesday night the dialysis went off on schedule, and she was back at Ita’s house to go to bed by about 2:30am. But on Thursday, the dialysis unit was backed up. Minga didn’t get to Ita’s until 5am, after being up all night. Minga is apparently not able to sleep while the dialysis is underway. There are many patients undergoing dialysis at the same time, the room is brightly lit, there is a fair amount of commotion, with people coming and going to check on the machines.

Dr. Felipe is not making much headway getting her into the ambulatory unit in Penonome. The family is going to try Aguadulce, the next place along the highway with a clinic big enough to offer dialysis. Penonome is a half hour west from the village. Aguadulce is about an hour, also west. Panama City is two hours to the east.

Nephrologist #1, the guy who was pushing so hard for peritoneal dialysis at home, is back on rotation at Santo Tomas and again pushing the home option. The family is holding firm that they don’t think they can make that happen.

The grinding reality of how to accommodate Minga’s extensive medical needs is beginning to set in. The family is trying hard, but the trade-offs aren’t getting any easier. It’s early days yet, but the stress is evident.

Minga is grateful for the care and attention she is getting. She feels better, with dialysis taking the place of her no longer working kidneys. But at the end of the day, she just wants to go home.

The family is trying to figure it all out.

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