A sense of humor. That is what Paul says it takes to make it through the hard times in life -- and the difficulties of dialysis. That humor is also what he appreciates most about the DRA drivers who take him back and forth from his 3.5-hour dialysis sessions three times a week. “It is so good to have guys to joke with. Some days are bad days, but they really help cheer me up – all of them!”
Paul is a retired Air Force Veteran who has been married to his bride Judy for 45 years. When Judy got sick for a little while, she really started to worry about what would happen to Paul if she couldn’t get him to dialysis. “I called about five places, and DRA was the only one who said they would help me. It is such a big relief to me. If I get too sick to take him, I know he has someone else to rely on.”
If Paul misses his dialysis, he immediately gets sluggish. Eventually, too much fluid would build up in his body and his lungs. “Without dialysis, I would die. That’s the short of it,” explains Paul.
But Paul has plenty to live for. He loves to ride his four-wheeler on the trails by his house. “He isn't driving a car these days, but he likes to sneak in rides on his four-wheeler,” bemoans Judy. “He loves to watch our grandsons race motorcycles too.”
In fact, Paul and Judy have five grandchildren. “My kids and grandkids are who I live for now,” explains Paul. “I enjoy watching all the stuff they do – football, soccer, and volleyball. And the motorcross racing, of course that too!”
In the past several years, Paul has had plenty of opportunities to put his sense of humor to the test. Paul is diabetic, and in 2016, a clipped toe nail that wouldn’t heal eventually led to his left leg being amputated below his knee. He received an artificial leg and learned to walk again. “You know those Weeble Wobbles? That’s what I looked like trying to walk again,” he says with a grin.
While he was learning to walk again, he relied on a wheelchair for mobility. It was very valuable that DRA provided wheelchair accessible vans. Now Paul rides in one of DRA’s cars and can use a cane to walk to and from the car most days.
“All of your drivers are so helpful. If I need it, they will stop on the way home to get a prescription. Once, I was so hungry and weak after dialysis. I knew my wife wasn’t home, so the driver even stopped so I could order a hamburger,” recalls Paul. “Every driver I’ve met is wonderful.”
Dialysis is a hard way to live, but Paul credits DRA with making it much easier. “They got me to where I look forward to going since I know I have someone else to talk to and joke around with. You’ve got to have a good sense of humor. If you don’t, you will just be a sour couch potato!”
Paul has no intentions of sitting around being glum. He has too much to live for. He is determined to make the most of the time he has left – and find ways to keep laughing as he does.
DRA will continue to provide door-through-door rides for Veterans like Paul thanks to gifts from donors like you!
Title VI Notice
Disability Resource Association complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that "no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." For more information on the DRA Title VI program, and the procedures to file a complaint, contact the DRA Executive Director at 636-931-7696; or visit our administrative office at 130 Brandon Wallace Way, Festus MO.63028. More information is available on our Title VI page.