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VIDEO: St. Clair Shores man hopes for kidney
« on: March 05, 2011, 03:56:51 AM »
VIDEO: St. Clair Shores man hopes for kidney
Published: Thursday, March 03, 2011

By Mike Huggler
Macomb Daily Staff Writer

In the meantime, he cherishes turning discarded farm parts into art

When he finds the energy, Richard Gottschalk turns old farm equipment into decorative lighthouses and chandeliers, or transforms an ordinary stone into a work of art utilizing his masonry skills.

Problem is, since his kidneys failed him several years ago, Gottschalk has had very little energy to do anything.

“I went to the doctor and they did a creatine test,” Gottschalk said. He learned his kidneys were only functioning at 33 percent.

His normally busy life took a 180-degree turn. It’s a situation he says most people don’t comprehend.

“You can’t explain to them what you feel like,” Gottschalk said. “Your whole body’s haywire.

“I go through spurts of feeling good. Maybe two days out of the week I’m feeling good. I’ve got strength, but I don’t have stamina.”

Plain and simple, Gottschalk is hoping he can find a person willing to donate a kidney. So far, like many others, he’s found no takers.

“It’s tough asking someone for an organ,” he acknowledges. “The donor goes through a hairier time than the recipient.”

But Gottschalk, who moved back into his childhood home in St. Clair Shores, desperately wants to get back to a normally busy life. He said a donor would get the satisfaction of knowing they helped.

Gottschalk made a living doing high-end masonry work: “stonewalls, split-faced fieldstone, hundreds of patios.”

“I had my own property out in Richmond; I had to get rid of that,” he said. “I couldn’t work, I was so energy depleted. Your blood’s toxic when your kidneys don’t work. It’s like perennial fatigue.”

Gottschalk is trying to get back on the National Kidney Registry. Even that is a long list.

Until then, he spreads the word through family and friends.

And Facebook: “The reason i’m on facebook is to see if i might seek a donor kidney from someone,...... anyone? Dialysis is keeping my one foot out of the grave, which means you know where the other foot is! I am R.G.G. and i approve this message. Still handsome! actively funny, short, artist, kidney challenged,” reads his profile on Facebook.

Two of his siblings needed — and received — kidneys. His sister, Peggy, received one from their sister; his brother, Mike, received one from a cadaver.

Two years ago, he began dialysis, which he gets every other day.

“That’s about 400 pokes,” he said, showing his left arm. For some, dialysis works wonders.

For others ...

“Not everybody adjusts to dialysis,” Gottschalk said, “and I’m one of those people.”

He said his mother, Audrey, and sister, Veronica, take good care of him. And when he finds the strength to get out of bed — which is often only about two hours a day — he is in his garage, building lighthouses and other wares that he likes to display at art fairs.

“It’s either that, or just rot in my bed,” he said. “I used to be real active, physically. I’ve got a big family, so there’s always something going on. But if there’s something going on, I’m usually in bed.”

Richard can be reached at r-gottschalk@sbcglobal.net.

Daughter Jenna is 31 years old and was on dialysis.
7/17 She received a kidney from a living donor.
Please email us: kidney4jenna@gmail.com
Facebook for Jenna: https://www.facebook.com/WantedKidneyDonor
~ We are forever grateful to her 1st donor Patrice, who gave her 7 years of health and freedom


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