A roadshow for hope
Robin Howarth sits in a room in his home hooked up to a dialysis machine for eight hours, every second day.
If he was not regularly connected by tubes to the apparatus he has taken to calling ‘‘Stephanie’’, he might only have a matter of hours to live.
The Titahi Bay resident and secretary of the Wellington Region Kidney Society is one of 573 renal patients in the Capital and Coast District Health Board’s area. Of the 1154 renal patients in the central part of the country, 433 are receiving dialysis, either in a unit or at home.
Mr Howarth said much of the information he had received about kidney disease, transplants, being on dialysis at home and other important matters came from the information roadshow the society held in 2009.
An annual event, it combines a lunch and entertainment with talks from doctors and other professionals about kidney health.
He urges not just kidney patients, but family members and friends to attend this year’s event at Pataka, in order to get a better understanding of what to expect. It will be of particular interest to those in the pre-dialysis stage.
‘‘At last year’s [roadshow] I had 90 per cent of my questions answered on things that doctors
Robin Howarth, pictured with Wellington Region Kidney Society community support officer Anna Keno, sits in a reclining chair in his Titahi Bay home on ‘‘dialysis day’’. Some days he starts at 4am to get the ordeal over by lunchtime. tend to forget to tell you. You will hear stories about the real world, get plenty of information and meet people,’’ Mr Howarth said.
‘‘It’s a very social thing and not just talk, talk, talk. It’s not just a space for renal patients but the whole community, because kidney disease, and what goes with it, affects so many people.’’
Last year the roadshow drew participants from Palmerston North and Levin, and the society hopes for strong numbers again.
Mr Howarth has had renal fail- ure for two years and has been on dialysis for 12 months. He is comfortable at home these days with his family and, despite having to sit for eight hours straight every second day, he is able to have a life. ‘‘So many renal patients give up, and what we want to tell them is that there is hope,’’ he said.
The roadshow is from 10am till 2pm on November 6 in the Helen Smith Room at Pataka. Among other entertainment, a kapa haka group will perform, and a light lunch will be provided.