My beautiful daughter, Abby, was born in 1996 with a rare kidney disease. In the critical hours following her birth in our hometown of Bakersfield, she was transported to the NICU at UCLA, and a team of pediatric nephrologists became both her lifeline and mine.
When you are suddenly faced with possibly losing your baby girl, the questions and sadness mix to form a very unique kind of “crazy mama”, but the UCLA pediatric nephrologists always demonstrated the highest level of compassion and professionalism as I coped with the diagnosis and treatment plans. Dr. Yadin with the heart of a mother and knowledge of a professor saw me through the first two years of our kidney journey which involved me crying pretty much every clinic visit. Dr. Salusky, who thinks out loud and used to scare me, frequently made me smile. He had such confidence in his dialysis process that I would joke that he thought he could dialyze a peach and get decent lab results.
At just 20 months of age, Abby received her first transplant, and Dr. Robert Ettenger took over our case. I asked so many questions that he often brought a white board when he came to talk to me so he could illustrate the medical concepts, and I started to wonder if I could get some extra college units! I quickly nicknamed Dr. Ettenger “The Great and Mighty Oz” and frequently reminded him that there’s no place like home to help my Abby’s blood pressure issues. As Oz retired from service on a regular basis, Dr. Eileen Tsai took over kidney transplant clinic. She is a brilliant chemist who can tweak medications to maximize benefit and minimize side effects to improve the life of her patients tremendously. Dr. Tsai has seen Abby through her teen years with her cool, straght-forward style. She has been a source of comfort and information for me, and I always knew that if she was involved with the treatment plan then my Abby would be fine.
Dr. Tsai is,sadly leaving for another institution, but I know that any doctor who the UCLA Nephrology Team will continue to help my kidney kid not only survive, but thrive. If it weren’t for each kidney fellow and attending physician, my sweet daughter would not be here, now age 20, asking questions herself , and loving her doctors just as much as her mama does.