One year ago, in August of 2017, my wife and I picked up and moved all the way from Los Angeles, CA to Portland, OR. When we were getting ready to move, I realized there were a million things that I had to arrange for the move. Here is a list of the top 10 concerns that I had as a dialysis patient moving to a different state.
Ten: Packing Up Your Life
If you have been living in the same place for several years, you don’t really realize how much stuff you have accumulated, medical or other. As a dialysis patient, your main concern is packing up all your medical supplies.
If like me you do home dialysis then you too have a plethora of medical supplies: gauzes, tapes, drain bags, cycler, cassettes, solution bags. I was smart, and I timed my move so that I was almost out of solution, and I would get my next delivery in Oregon. But what about all the other stuff that you have accumulated?
Now that you are moving, it is time to reassess what you really need in your life, and if it is worth hauling it all to a new state. In my case, my wife and I made several trips to the local Goodwill to donate a lot of our clothes. The good news is that you can use these charitable donations as tax deductions. Save those receipts!
Nine: Booking Movers
When it comes down to it, no one wants to help you move, and if you are moving to a new state where you don’t know anyone, you don’t have anyone to help you unpack once you get there. Hiring professional movers was one of the smartest things my wife and I did when making the move up to Portland.
We hired a team of movers in LA to help us load up the moving truck that we rented, and we hired a team up in Portland to help us unpack the truck. Professional movers have their own dollies, saran wrap, and rope for tying down items in the truck. They completed the job quicker that we could have even if we had help from our friends, and everything was packed up tightly and efficiently.
Eight: Booking a Moving Truck
When we looked into hiring a moving company to pack up all our stuff and deliver it to our new address, we found first that it very expensive, and second that they would give us a window for delivering all our stuff, we couldn’t book the exact day. No thanks!
We decided to just rent our own moving truck and hire movers to pack and unpack the truck for us. This still ended up being a little pricey, but not as much as if we hired one company to do everything, plus we held on to all of our stuff and were able to unpack it all right when we arrived. Smart!
Seven: Changing All Your Addresses
Anybody who moves has to change a lot of addresses, but kidney patients have even more addresses, including, but not limited to the following:
- Credit Cards
- Care Providers
- Transplant Centers (if you are listed)
- Post Office
- Social Security (if you are on Medicare or receiving Social Security)
- Auto Insurance
- The list goes on and on
Six: Saying Goodbye to All of Your Friends
I lived in Los Angeles for almost 12 years, and my wife lived in Southern California for 7 years before we decided to move to Oregon. In that time, we made some long lasting bonds of friendship. But we were sick of LA, and we were ready for the slower, more peaceful life that Oregon had to offer.
Before we left, we made sure to spend some quality time with all of our friends. We have also stayed in touch with them through the magic of the internet and jet plane travel. The modern world is amazing!
Five: Finding a Job
My wife had gotten a job in Oregon, which is what prompted us to move. We had been thinking about moving there for a year before we went, and we both started applying at all sorts of jobs in the Portland area, but my wife was selected by one. When we moved, I was on CA state disability, so the transition was easy, but I still had to find a job.
I do peritoneal dialysis, so I can dialyze at night and get up and go to work in the morning with no problems (most of the time). One job that I was selected to interview for was with the Downtown Portland Social Security Administration. My previous job was working for a Social Security attorney, so I knew all the ins and outs of the program.
Thankfully, they didn’t hire me (I think there was some divine intervention there), and I ended up getting a great job with a semiconductor manufacturing company in the suburbs, close to where we live. This has been the best job I have ever had, as I can take my laptop home and work remotely when I need to. I couldn’t have done that with Social Security!
Four: Finding the Nearest Hospital
In Los Angeles, I was under Kaiser, and there was a Kaiser hospital close to where I lived, so I always went to Kaiser for everything. When I moved to Oregon, Kaiser would no longer accept my Medicare insurance (see item One).
After we were settled in Oregon, I had a day where I went home early from work because my blood pressure was high and wasn’t dropping. On the advice of my dialysis nurse, I went into the emergency room. Thankfully, I already knew where my closest hospital was, so my wife drove me there to get checked out.
You should always know where your closest hospital is for incidents such as these. Of course if you think you are having a stroke or heart attack, call 911 immediately. Don’t take chances with your life!
Three: Changing Health Care Providers
Kaiser is all encompassing, so any specialist you need to see, they have for you there. Now that I am just on Medicare, I have the option to see anyone I want anywhere, but the hard part was finding who I wanted to see.
My nephrologists are now at a different place than my primary care physician, and I still haven’t set up a new neurologist (I had a stroke in April 2016, see Vegan Diet and ESRD). All of the health care providers I have found so far have been very supportive and helpful, and I can’t really ask for better care.
Two: Finding a New Dialysis Clinic
This is very important, but not as important as number one, which is why it landed down here at number two. Since I started dialysis, I have always used Fresenius (instead of Baxter). I really like the Fresenius stay•safe system. Not only am I comfortable with it, but it feels safer and easier to use than the clumsy Baxter system, but if you feel differently, please let me know it the comments.
Fresenius helped me to locate a local clinic to service my needs as a patient on home peritoneal dialysis.
One: Making Sure you Have Insurance
This was the hardest, most stress inducing thing about moving to a new state. In LA, I had Medicare insurance, but I was also enrolled in the Kaiser Medicare advantage plan, which was free for me to use, and they just billed Medicare for all of my medical needs. Apparently, and I didn’t know this until I was getting ready to move, you cannot transfer a Medicare advantage plan to another state, even though Kaiser is in both states.
I wish I would have known that ahead of time! But I do not regret moving. My life is much freer of stress, and I have a great job. The extra bonus was that the wait for a kidney transplant is much shorter than in Los Angeles. Score! Luckily, Oregon state does not have restrictions against selling a Medicare supplement plan to people under the age of 65 with ESRD (some states do, see Medicare). Now, I am paying twice as much as I was for just Medicare part B, but my life is much happier, so it was all worth it in the end. Happy ending!