In 2006, Michael Pipper was diagnosed with kidney disease. He needed a kidney transplant. To stretch the life of his kidneys, Michael focused on good eating habits and did daily in-home dialysis for five years. “Being on dialysis was like having the flu 24/7. I always felt sick – I threw up each morning, my body ached and I was so weak,” said Michael.
After meetings at a few area hospitals, the Pipper’s chose to have his kidney transplant done in Des Moines.
“On October 16, I got the call – that ‘you’ve won the lottery’ call.” But during the surgery, Michael had a rare allergic reaction to the anti-rejection drugs. “They did 22 rounds of CPR on me and my lungs collapsed.” Thankfully, they were able to save Michael, but he was on a ventilator and in an induced coma for the next four days. He was then moved out of ICU and the kidney began working. Michael and his wife Stacie needed to stay in Des Moines for one month for close observation.
The Pipper’s returned home to Clarksville mid-November, but his kidney transplant still required a high amount of care. “My kidney isn’t fully working yet – it’s at about 85%. Until it starts working better on its own, I need to have infusions of different medicines to keep my blood work at normal levels.” Waverly Health Center is able to meet his needs, saving him some driving time and helping him return to a more normal life.
When he began his infusions, he needed to have them done seven days a week. He’s now down to three days a week. “Even just three days a week seems easy,” said Michael. His sessions take around two hours each time to complete. “Everyone at WHC has been wonderful. When I’m here, I feel like I have a second mom. The nurses make sure I’m comfortable and well fed.”
Michael plans to continue living a healthy, balanced life. In regards to how long his new kidney is going to last, he told his doctor, “I’m going to set a record.”