Patient Optimization Program Leads to Successful Kidney Transplant

Patrick Guinn doesn’t get stressed about much, but his wife Carrie does – especially when it comes to his health. They have been married for 28 years and tend to finish each other’s sentences.

“She worries enough for both of us,” Patrick said with a smile. Born with polycystic kidney disease, he eventually had to go on dialysis five times a week, which became a huge time commitment and obstacle when traveling for vacation or to visit family.

Memorial’s Alan G. Birtch, MD, Center for Transplant Services referred him to the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center, which enrolled him in the patient optimization program. The goal? To reach an optimal body mass index (BMI) in order to be eligible on the active list for a kidney transplant.

The Weight Loss & Wellness Center team tested him on two different bicycles to determine which burned more calories. The recumbent bike won, and he rode the bike three times a week either at Memorial or Fitness World in Jacksonville.

From a nutrition perspective, he cut way back on sodium and avoided high levels of potassium, common for patients with chronic kidney disease.

“He set his mind on the goal of obtaining a kidney transplant and worked with us on behavior and lifestyle changes in order to successfully reach his goal,” said Ashley Bell, APP, advanced practice provider with Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center. “Our physical therapy team gave him specific exercise guidelines, and he was highly motivated in order to be the best possible surgical candidate.””

Within time, Patrick met the physical standards to become active on the kidney transplant list.

Carrie remembers when they finally received the call: “They said, head to the hospital. You are first on the list, and we have a perfect match.” Carrie was overcome with relief and joy, yet she was also emotional that their good news meant someone else had lost their loved one.

She told Patrick – who was excited and worried all at the same time.

“Usually when you plan a surgery, you have time to think through it. Here it was – you are having surgery. Right now.” he said. “You don’t have time to process it. I was excited! Scared! Back to excited! There is a lot going through your head. But the docs were all good. They have such a great team at Memorial. They make you feel at home.”

Post-surgery, Patrick continues to work towards improved health with the Weight Loss & Wellness Center as part of their patient optimization program. And the health benefits continue.

He is back to meticulously caring for his yard. This summer he even pinch hit for their son Braden’s softball team. The freedom from dialysis is near the top of his grateful list.

“I’m not nailed down to a machine four times a day. I’m not cold anymore. I don’t freeze. I can go out and work in the yard all day and not get tired,” Patrick said. “I have the breath to do everyday things most people take for granted like walking, exercising and spending more time with my family. I have so much more time and energy to enjoy life, going on trips and craft shopping with Carrie.”

Both Patrick and Carrie appreciate the quality of care he received from all his teams at Memorial.

“These people have been so wonderful,” Carrie said. “I would call them crying or asking dumb questions. They would take their time and encourage me. Between the kidney doctors, dialysis team and kidney transplant team – there is nobody better.”

For more information about Memorial’s resources for patient optimization or transplant services, visit Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center and the Alan G. Birtch, MD, Center for Transplant Services.

Learn more about the Alan G. Birtch, MD, Center for Transplant Services Transplant 5K Run/Walk on September 28, 2019.