PRATT — A positive outlook on life as well as being surrounded by a medical team dedicated to survival keeps Bill Proctor, 81, alive these days, despite an ongoing eight-year battle with kidney disease.
His love of his wife, Darlene, and an attitude of thanks make each day worth living, the Pratt man said.
“I have regular visits and exams by seven physicians to hold me together,” Proctor said. "My Parkwood team also plays a bit part in my fight to stay alive. It's not easy but I have the best people around me."
Bill and his wife moved to Parkwood Village in Pratt two years ago, where they depend on staff to help with their daily care, including a ride for Bill to 4:30 a.m. kidney dialysis sessions at Pratt Family Clinic.
"I've been going three times a week, every morning, but one day I forgot to reset my clock for daylight savings time," Proctor said. "My people here got me up and to my appointment in time. It's what keeps me alive. I appreciate so much those who care enough to help me stay alive."
Proctor's battle with kidney disease started eight years ago when he noticed he was having trouble breathing. Originally, his doctor believed he had congestive heart failure, which has similar symptoms to those of kidney failure. Luckily, a physician's assistant was able to spot it before the kidney failure lead to his waste filling up his lungs and suffocating him, which is what happens when the condition is left untreated.
"When my kidneys failed, I was already too old to be added to the long, long list of people waiting for a kidney transplant," Proctor said. "Even if I had been young enough, I couldn’t afford to get one as Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of the anti-rejection drug that costs around $25,000 a year."
Proctor's only options were peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis. He chose hemodialysis, which requires him to get hooked to a machine for five hours, three days a week, which clears his blood of his waste now that he doesn’t have kidneys to do that for him.
“When I first started out with dialysis in 2012, there were people ready to bury me. And if I hadn’t had this attitude that I want to live, I wouldn't have celebrated Christmas with my family,” Proctor said. “We live on borrowed time, my wife and I, she has health problems, too. But at the worst time, when I was diagnosed, for 44 days, three hospitals and two nursing homes, she came to see me every day. She said to me, 'We’re gonna make it.'"
Next to the Proctors' bed in their Parkwood apartment is a framed paper with the title “Bill Proctor’s GOALS of Mindfulness and Meditation.” It lists nine ways for him to deal with his kidney failure. The first: "I shall be good to myself and others with compassion and love."