WHEN HE WAS ACTUALLY SUFFERING FROM PULMONARY FIBROSIS!
ABOUT FRED BANKS
After building a life and raising three children in Waitsburg and Prescott Washington, our parents sold their home and moved across the state to help their 4 year old granddaughter who was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2016. They loaded what they needed and they set up their 5th wheel home in areas around Sequim including the John Wayne Marina and now, in Carlsborg. They had two years of enjoying the area and even made a cross-country trip to "see the sights" and spend time with family they haven't seen in years.
Our father, Fred Banks was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis on December 28th 2018 (https://www.maoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pulmonary-fibrosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353690) a diagnosis under the umbrella term, Interstitial Lung Disease (https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/interstitial-lung-disease/). He is expected to have had it unknowingly for quite some time (roughly 6 years), always being professionally treated for "allergies". In May of 2019 he was rushed by ambulance to Jefferson Medical Center in Port Townsend in respiratory distress. It was then discovered that since diagnosis, there was a miscommunication or misunderstanding on how much oxygen he SHOULD have been on and he was getting FAR less than he needed. When the ER team tested his blood gas levels (https://www.healthline.com/health/blood-gases#results) they found his oxygen level was through the roof and his CO2 level was dangerously low. He was suffering from Pulmonary Toxicity because of the amount of oxygen - CO2 in his system. His extremities were purple for hours until they were able to balance those levels. He remained in the ICU for 3 full days. After being oxygen deprived for so long his body was weak. He stayed in the hospital for 2 weeks while they balanced all unbalanced levels, worked him through Physical and Occupational therapies and taught him how to live a life attached to the massive amount of oxygen he needs to survive. His quality of life is greatly diminished because of the burden of transporting multiple oxygen tanks as well as the appropriate concentrators. During his stay in the hospital he found out he was eligible for a life-saving lung transplant as long as he could meet a few simple requirements, he basically needed to lose a little weight. Since he was discharged he has been attending Pulmonary Rehab multiple times a week and adjusted his diet. With the necessary therapy providing a large portion of his activity and diet change he has reached his goal weight (starting weight 272# - current weight 217#). This was the last big hurdle to clear before the transplant process could continue.
What we're finding out now is that he stands a great chance of that happening a lot sooner than we thought. They have depleted their savings paying for hospital trips, rehab and medial costs that have not been covered by their insurance. Us, his three children, are trying to help our Dad (and Mom) come up with ideas on how to maneuver funding when it comes to this transplant. He does have insurance that covers the transplant. What the insurance doesn't cover is the required lodging and in-home care for post transplant (3 months - possibly longer), anti rejection drugs, food, plus transitional care assistance once he's allowed to come back home to Sequim. He will have to remain within an hour of the University of Washington Hospital with round-the-clock care. Our Mom will be his main caregiver but in the event of any possible medical issue with her or her simple need to get groceries or leave the house, they need someone there with him. It's obviously incredibly expensive to live in the Seattle area even more so when you require (skilled) care. We are hoping to help my parents raise enough money for them to cover monthly living expenses post-transplant and find someone to care for their 2 small dogs during that time.
Our Dad has so much life to live. We appreciate you reading through this and your possible donation. Our Dad is a man of God so if you're not able to afford a financial donation please do include him in your prayers and church groups. He misses his Church family in Walla Walla so very much and would love and appreciate being lifted up in prayer.
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Someone tonight is giving my dad an amazing gift. Because they chose to be an organ donor, he gets a new set of lungs. Dad got the call about 6pm this evening that he's been matched and he's now at the University of Washington for a lung transplant tomorrow scheduled for 8:00am. As long as the inspection by his team (after he's under anesthesia) goes as planned, he will be in surgery for 4-6 hours while they replace his lungs. If the team inspects the lungs and thinks for any reason that they won't work, he'll be woken up with the news of a "dry run". Nothing anyone wants to hear. In the class that Karie and I took with my parents last month we learned that the average wait time for a transplant for this is 9.3 months. He's been on the list for two weeks-maybe three. WHY that is a big deal is because a large portion of the area that is covered for transplants in our area - most is water, not a lot of land. The fact that within a month of being on the list he gets this opportunity is simply amazing.
Please consider any of the following options:
https://www.redcrossblood.org | https://bethematch.org | https://www.organdonor.gov/register.html
Sunday, January 12, 2020
So the team flies to the hospital for the inspection. The report they got was that the lungs were in great shape but that was based off of preliminary scans, not the physical inspection. During inspection they noticed that there was some minor damage that they did try to fix but couldn't. Ended up not wanting to take any chances so they declined them. Keeping our fingers crossed!
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Well, Today Is The Day! My dad is finally getting his lung transplant. Please send prayers or thoughts, or whatever kind of positive vibes you choose to send.
Friday, May 1, 2020
Today Fred was discharged from the University of Washington and moved into the nearby transplant apartment with mom ... also his main caregiver. Funding from a charity for their apartment fell through shortly before his surgery but we weren't going to let that impede our dad's chance at a new life and new lungs. Luckily we were able to pull the funds together, but coming up with over $10,000+ in a short time was obviously not easy.
He spent the next three months between their transplant apartment, doctor's appointments and a couple overnight stays back in the hospital before being permitted to move home to Sequim. Being able to come back home, while a much needed step, came with much worry since his transplant team will now be just over 2 hours and a ferry-ride away. Unfortunately our local hospital is rural and our dad has had too many poor experiences so if/when he needed immediate help - the fear of sub-par care was heavy on all our minds, and rightfully so. In early November (see Friday, November 13, 2020) our dad started to feel very ill. After consulting his team at UW it was ultimately decided that he or my mom should call 911 to have him taken to aforementioned hospital to possibly be life-flighted to UW for diagnosis, evaluation and treatment. After spending over four hours in his ER room and only seeing a physician one time for less than 5 minutes my dad no longer felt that he was going to receive the treatment he needed so he self-discharged around 11:00pm and our mom drove him the two hours to UW. He was diagnosed with a virus that is not uncommon for transplant patients and given a prescription for a transplant-specific antiviral medication. Upon returning home the next morning at almost 5:00am - he (and our mom) were mentally and emotionally exhausted. As soon as the pharmacy opened they tried to have his prescription filled but living on the peninsula sometimes means some pharmaceuticals aren't kept in-stock, his wasn't. He had to wait for four days for his prescription to be filled to start feeling any relief.
Friday, November 13, 2020
Developed a high fever and was taken by ambulance to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, WA ... where he sat for 6 HOURS and saw one doctor who said they were trying to reach his doctor. Guess what? THAT WAS THE LAST TIME HE SAW ANYONE BEFORE LEAVING WITH A HIGH FEVER. Obviously this is NOT a hospital you want to go to LIVE! So because of this hospital chose to do nothing for 6 hours, for a transplant patient WITH papers from his doctor issuing immediate help with a high grade fever, my mom is forced to drive 4 hours to UW ER to make sure he gets the care he needs!
Monday, January 11, 2021
It is now mid January and dad is finally feeling better! The medication he was on for the virus did cause some unpleasant side effects so he has been greatly looking forward to the completion of two subsequent blood tests where they show zero virus. He'd be quite happy to report he's cleared of the virus and off the medication. In feeling better each day he's beginning to putz around their home more and helping mom with chores. His least favorite as of late is taking the trash down the driveway to the road. After returning from a blood-draw appointment recently, he attempted to pick up his overturned trash can and ended up falling into it. After the initial fear of injury subsided he was able to laugh it off, until the next day when the bruises showed up...lol. Hearing him tell that story was fun because I hadn't heard my dad laugh like that for quite awhile.