A single mum with kidney failure has been told to prepare her two kids for the worst as they slowly turn from her children into her carers.
For the last two years, Razlyn Bromfield, 35, has had to be hooked up to a dialysis machine three days a week, leaving her exhausted and nauseous the rest of the time.
But the pain and discomfort of her illness is nothing compared to seeing her children grow up too quickly – ten-year-old, Ronaldo, and eight-year-old Asia take a great responsibility on their little shoulders as they often keep watch at night to make sure their mum doesn’t die in her sleep.
They have to miss school when their mum is too sick to look after herself and when Razlyn is unable to make dinner they have another takeaway by themselves.
“They don’t deserve it, it’s not their fault. There’s a lot of pressure on them and it breaks my heart,” Razlyn said as she wiped away a tear in her Norcroft Gardens home in Dulwich.
“I’d love to do things with my kids and run around with them, but they don’t have that option. They just sit in the bed with me lying there.”
The only hope of Razlyn and her children escaping this fate is if she gets a kidney transplant, but while she waits for a donor match she must be hooked up to a machine three days a week to drain her body of the 3.5 litres of fluids it is unable to expel through urination.
“Sometimes I can feel it drowning me,” Razlyn said of the build-up of liquid she feels in her body before dialysis. “If I could get a live donor that would just be the best thing – I need to get a donor to get off the machine.”
In the meantime she must watch the other patients receiving treatment around her “drop like flies” – one day she is talking to them, the next there is an empty chair and condolences from the nursing staff.
“I just hope I’m going to be around long enough to see [the children] grow up. At the moment I don’t know how long I’ve got,” said Razlyn.
While she languishes on the transplant donor list, Razlyn told the News she desperately needed some help for them all to live a better life.
Social Services already provide some assistance to Razlyn with her personal care and domestic chores, but she is more worried about the children getting to school, eating properly and enjoying what is left of their childhoods.
“I can’t live like this. It’s a difficult situation. The only thing that’s keeping me going is my children but they need to be kids, they are too grown up for their age. They need someone to mother them when I’m not well.”
Cllr Victoria Mills, Southwark’s cabinet member for children and schools, said social services would look at Razlyn’s case again. “We are very sorry to hear about Ms Bromfield’s situation and the challenges she is facing. We will do all we can to help her and her family, and work with them to find the best way forward,” she said.
For more information about organ donation visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.If you are interested in becoming a living donor you can find out more at www.morethanamatch.co.uk
Local campaign for more black people to donate
A Dulwich man whose life was saved by a kidney transplant at Guy’s Hospital is campaigning for more people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds to sign up as living organ donors.
Organs from the same ethnic group are more likely to be a suitable match for transplantation, so patients like Razlyn need more black people to become living kidney donors. Many people are registered organ donors so that when they die their organs can be used to help someone in need.
But there is a growing need for donors to give one of their kidneys while they are still alive to help people like Tayo Idowu, 58, from Dulwich, (pictured)?who was on dialysis every day when his kidneys failed before his transplant in 2014.
“The kidney transplant was truly life changing for me,” said Tayo. “After my kidneys failed I faced a very bleak future, but the transplant has given me back my health. I’m hugely grateful and I know I’m really lucky.”
A serious shortage of organ donors from BME communities means it can take far longer for suitable organs to be found for patients like Razlyn and sometimes those delays mean patients die from organ failure before a transplant can take place.
That’s why after his operation Tayo and his sister Dela set up the ‘Gift Of Living Donation’ organisation, which raises awareness of organ donation in BME communities.
“It’s fantastic that the transplant was such a success for Tayo and that his family have gone on to launch this campaign,” said Nikolaos Karydis, the transplant surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust who performed Tayo’s operation.
“Three people die each day in the UK while waiting for a transplant. For those from ethnic minorities the situation can be even worse because there aren’t enough people from similar backgrounds on the organ donor register.”
You can find out more at www.morethanamatch.co.uk
What is kidney failure?
Kidneys are the organs that help filter waste products from the blood & regulate blood pressure.
When they start to fail and the waste products build up in the blood, symptoms can be weakness, shortness of breath and confusion.
A subsequent inability to remove potassium from the bloodstream can be fatal.
If the kidneys fail completely, the only treatment options available are dialysis or transplant.
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