TRURO – Whenever Bill Hines takes part in the annual Kidney Foundation walk, he thinks, as he always does, about his wife Marjorie.
Bill Hines stopped by Colchester East Hants Health Centre Wednesday to have a look at the kidney dialysis unit ahead of Saturday’s Give the Gift of Life Walk in Truro. Hines’ late wife Marjorie spent much of the final five years of her life on dialysis before succumbing to kidney disease two years ago. Matthew Veno – Truro Daily News
She was a woman who was active and loved life, but had it stolen from her by kidney disease. She died Aug. 18, 2011 at the age of 85.
“She was a good gal,” Hines, now 89, said of his wife of 60 years. “She just went downhill and we didn’t know she had a kidney problem until she practically lost her kidneys, both of them.”
The annual Give the Gift of Life Walk will be held Saturday at 9:30 a.m. starting from the Sobey’s parking lot on Prince Street. Registration gets underway at 9 a.m. The walk proceeds down Walker and Queen streets, then down Robie Street, along Juniper Drive and back to Sobeys, via Prince Street.
“The walk is pretty important,” Hines said. “I think it raises awareness in people because most people have no idea what this is all about.”
Bill and Marjorie were two of those people until the day she was diagnosed, just five years before she died. A kidney specialist said her kidneys were only operating at eight per cent and she had to start dialysis as soon as possible.
Dialysis requires a patient to be hooked up to a machine, which acts as a kidney by filtering the patient’s blood, removing waste and excess water. Marjorie required the procedure, which took four hours at a time, three days per week. Although she received treatment in Dartmouth, the former Colchester Regional Hospital and at home, much of the final three years of her life were spent travelling back and forth to Halifax.
“It’s a full day every time you go,” Hines said. “It took a lot of the good out of her.”
Hines became his wife’s main caregiver, doing the driving, preparing meals – she was kept to a strict diet – and trying to keep her spirits up. But it was hard watching what kidney disease was doing to the woman he loved.
“The last year was very difficult,” he said. “Her quality of life just disappeared on her. She got to the point where she didn’t want anything more to do with a car drive or hospital beds.”
Their experience with kidney disease was what pushed him to start volunteering with the foundation, which raises funds for research and helps dialysis patients in need of support. Research has given the new Colchester East Hants Health Centre nine cutting edge machines, which have the potential to help 40 patients. The former ward at Colchester Regional Hospital had just three, less capable, units which could handle 18 people.
“I felt I had to take part,” he said. “I hope people consider going on the walk or making a contribution.”
– Affects the ability of kidneys to clean waste, excess water from the bloodstream.
– About 2,000 people in Nova Scotia suffer from kidney disease.
– Kidney disease resulted in the death of 735,000 people globally in 2010, up from 400,000 in 1990.
– About 2 million people have kidney disease in Canada.