I’ve Got Your Back

Virdie and Rudy

Virdie and Rudy

It was a long road together until Rudy passed away in April 2020. Years ago, Rudy was diagnosed with diabetes. Both his father and sister had diabetes as well, and both had passed away with kidney failure; only one sister was remaining.  Rudy and Virdie Reed (his husband) lived in San Jose when Rudy was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Failure. He began Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) in Feb 2010 through the support of Satellite Wellbound in Milpitas. Immediately after starting dialysis, his symptoms of fatigue, lethargy, and intestinal upsets subsided.

They realized what a huge mental undertaking dialysis was and attempted to leverage the services through Wellbound; however, it became difficult to establish rapport with frequent staff changes.  They felt they needed more.

In 2015, Virdie had an aunt who had a friend, Phil Wyche, who introduced them to the BAAKP support groups. Immediately, they felt at home with others who were dealing with diabetes and kidney failure.  Things then stabilized, and they realized that they could travel while on Peritoneal Dialysis.

They traveled to Texas to visit Rudy’s family, then bravely took three different cruises, including Alaska.  The materials needed for PD were delivered to the land-based hotels, which were the cruises’ departure points. They visited Germany to visit Virdie’s side of the family, where the dialysate was delivered to Virdie’s Grandmother’s house!  In all, they took at least 15 trips!  Virdie & Rudy were grateful they could take all of those trips!

In early 2017, Rudy came down with pneumonia, was hospitalized twice, and then developed peritonitis.  Because of the peritonitis, he needed a temporary Hemodialysis catheter in his shoulder.  He had done seven years of PD before HD – quite a feat! Rudy applied to be on the kidney transplant list, and amazingly, Virdie was a match!  They took a trip to Hawaii in September 2019, and then a week after their return Rudy had open heart triple by-pass surgery. 

As his caregiver, Virdie did what he had to navigate the world of dialysis and transplant, as Rudy found the “red tape” impossible. Virdie agreed he “had his back,” and they went through it together. Due to a heart attack, Rudy passed away on the evening of April 26, 2020, after spending a wonderful day in San Francisco.  Virdie wants to continue volunteering with BAAKP, using his photographic experience.