Five-year-old awaits transplant
Raymond Wiseman is undergoing dialysis for Stage 4 kidney disease
JENNA HEAD SALTWIRE firstname.lastname@example.org
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Raymond Wiseman is like most five-year-olds. He just started kindergarten and loves planes, trucks, and cars. When music plays, he loves to dance, but unlike most kids his age, Raymond has a bigger hill to climb. He was born with Stage 4 kidney disease. Since he was a baby, his parents, Allison and Adam of St. John’s, N.L., have managed the disease through medication, diet, and routine check-ups. The Wisemans knew their son would need to be placed on dialysis and receive a transplant at some point, but they didn’t expect it to be required so soon. At the end of October, Raymond’s potassium levels were high during a routine checkup. He was admitted to the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre in hopes of bringing the levels down, but the disease had progressed. “His nephrologist figured now is the time to start dialysis because his function was just getting worse,” Allison said. This news was unexpected. The family thought they had more time. “We thought we had a couple of years. I guess not,” Allison said. KIDNEYS’ PURPOSE Kidneys have an important function in the body. The Kidney Foundation of Canada says one of the organ’s main jobs is keeping blood clean by balancing the body’s minerals, such as potassium. They also remove waste and produce hormones. The Kidney Foundation’s website says, “They ‘clean’ your blood by removing wastes from the body through your urine, help your body to make red blood cells, and regulate blood pressure.” When the kidneys are unable to function, many people are placed on dialysis and kidney transplant lists. This is now the case for Raymond. OUT OF PROVINCE The Wisemans have been in Halifax for the last two weeks, so they can learn how to administer Raymond’s dialysis at home. They expect to be in Halifax for a few more weeks as Raymond receives peritoneal dialysis, a treatment for kidney failure that uses the lining of the abdomen, or belly, to filter the blood inside the body. “He has a little port in his stomach that they put in dialysis solution and they leave it there for an hour and then they drain it back out. The solution pulls all the bad things from his blood,” Allison explained. The process takes eight hours. Each cycle is an hour. They do it eight times. Since arriving in Halifax, Raymond has received this treatment in the daytime. The goal is to administer the dialysis at night. “They’re starting to do it overnight. When we go home, he’ll do it in his sleep, and it should not have any effect on his day-to-day life. Hopefully,” Allison said. This will allow Raymond to continue going to school and being a kid while they wait for a transplant. GOOD ATTITUDE In the meantime, Raymond has been in good spirits. “We spent Halloween and his birthday at the Janeway. The day after his birthday, we flew up here,” Allison said. She said Raymond thought it was the best Halloween ever. He enjoyed cake on his birthday, and his trip to Halifax was his first time on a plane. This was an exciting adventure for a little boy who loves “anything that moves.” “It was his first time on the plane, which he loved. He thought it was the best thing ever,” Allison said. Raymond hasn’t asked to go home yet, which surprises Allison. “He knows he has to stay there until he gets better. That’s what he says.” LOCAL SUPPORT The Wisemans have received an outpouring of support from their loved ones and local church. In Springdale, Allison’s family organized a gospel concert, in which the money raised would help them with living and travel expenses as they are off work and with Raymond in Halifax. Their church in St. John’s also took offerings to help the family. They are overwhelmed and grateful for their kindness. “There were people just sending us money out of nowhere. I don’t even know where they got my email address,” Allison said. “I’ll never be able to say thank you enough for the love and support we’ve been given over the last few weeks. It means the world to us.” In the meantime, Raymond has been a champ. Earlier this week, he walked around the hospital in his space pyjamas and rubber boots, checking out the goldfish swimming around their fish tank.