Patient's stories

David Nguyen

Hemodialysis patient

David Nguyen’s cause: improving nephrology care

Allow me to introduce myself: my name is David Nguyen and I’m 33. I have two master’s degrees - one in engineering and another in project management. I teach at three well-known schools specializing in telecommunications and electricity. In my spare time, I play hockey and tennis. Basically, I’m a regular guy who goes to work, has hobbies and enjoys spending time with friends and family.

But my evenings probably aren’t quite like everyone else’s. Three days a week, I don’t go home right after work. Instead, I head to HMR’s dialysis department. From 7 to 11 p.m., I’m practically glued to a treatment chair while my blood gets filtered by a dialysis machine. Yes, you read right: three nights a week, 52 weeks a year, I spend four hours in a treatment chair at the hospital. Not quite what your evenings are like, is it?

A vital, long-term treatment

I was only two years old when, after a long and grave illness, my kidneys stopped working properly. In 2000, when I was 19, I was left with no other option: it was either dialysis or death. In 2003, I was lucky enough to receive a kidney transplant. It was such a joy not to need to have my blood purified at the hospital anymore! But the joy faded in 2011 when my new kidneys stopped working, forcing me to go back on dialysis.

Today, I’m on the waiting list again, but it is extremely difficult to find a compatible donor given my situation. And so it looks as though I’m going to have to spend my evenings sitting in a treatment chair at the hospital for the foreseeable future...

Patient comfort isn’t a luxury

Despite the professionalism, empathy and kindness of the staff at HMR, who do everything they can to help patients feel better, there are still some things that could make my life a little bit more pleasant. Frankly, the treatment chairs in the dialysis department are worn out and urgently need to be replaced. They’ve been used for thousands of hours over many years, and they’re really uncomfortable. Believe me when I say that when you’re glued to your seat for four hours at a time, you feel it. But patient comfort isn’t a luxury...

When I found out that the Foundation’s spring campaign had fulfilled its objective of purchasing 100 new treatment chairs for the Integrated Cancer Centre, I was like, “Fantastic! Now let’s do it for the dialysis department!”

That’s why I was thrilled when the Foundation decided to make that its next goal: purchasing 72 ergonomic and, above all, comfortable, treatment chairs at a cost of $6,000 each.

Your generosity is priceless

On behalf of myself and every other nephrology patient, I beg you to be generous and donate to the Foundation. People living with kidney disease deserve to be comfortable as they receive their treatments.