Staff and patients at the Forest Park Dialysis Center recently said goodbye to Darryl Eddington, the longest-surviving dialysis patient in the WU renal network. Sadly, Darryl passed away on October 11, 2018.
Darryl was a patient here for over 40 years. For 38 of those years, he was a patient of Dr. Marcos Rothstein, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Nephrology.
“Darryl was such a positive force in the center,” says Dr. Rothstein. “Despite having to undergo dialysis for most of those years, he led an active, full life. He showed that just because you are on dialysis, it isn’t the end of your life.”
According to Darryl’s wife, Carrol, what got him through those 40 years was to “keep moving.” Though Darryl his lost kidney function to high blood pressure in 1978, and struggled with asthma and arthritis throughout the years, he was determined to stay busy. Up until the time Darryl retired in 2008, he worked two jobs while squeezing in time for hemodialysis.
“He worked at BJC radiology as an x-ray film librarian every day from 6:00 am to 2:30 pm,” says Carrol. “On Monday, Wednesday and Friday he would then go home, change his clothes and drive himself to dialysis, and then drive himself home.” On Tuesday and Thursday, he would work at the radiology department and then go to his second job, cleaning offices for ServiceMaster. “He was a strong-willed, independent person.”
His weekends were just as busy. Carrol says, “He didn’t let me clean the house. He cleaned the house. He would clean, mop, wash the clothes and iron! He kept busy. It kept him going. He had to have something to do.” Darryl also loved to dance … and roller skate!
Another past time was detailing cars. According to Carrol, if you gave him your car, it would be returned washed and waxed – cleaned inside and out – to perfection. “He was very detailed and organized in everything he did.”
In 1987, Darryl received a kidney, which lasted for 13 years. In 2000, he went back on dialysis for 18 years. Darryl went into a nursing home after back surgery in October of 2017. Carrol says out that even in the nursing home, Darryl had everything around him organized.
Darryl and Carrol, married for 46 years, have two older daughters and five grandchildren, ages 14-26. “Darryl was so proud of his grandbabies,” says Carrol. He never did finish school, so he really did push them to stay in school.” So far, two have graduated from college with Master’s degrees, two are seniors in high school and the other is in 7th grade.
Patricia Anderson, RN and Nurse Administrator at the Forest Park Dialysis Center, has known Darryl for 34 years. “He always came into the dialysis unit in a very chipper mood,” she says. “He was always very involved in his dialysis care, and was adamant about riding the exercise bike during his dialysis treatment. He would find the bike he liked the best and bring it to his chair to start biking once we started dialysis. Even when you knew Darryl didn’t feel well, he would always say he was doing fine.”
Although Darryl was not always “keen” on doctors, Carrol points out that he and Dr. Rothstein somehow clicked. “He really respected Dr. Rothstein and his opinion. He was one doctor Darryl really listened to.”t man who always carried himself with grace and fortitude. He was a real cheerleader for others,” says Rothstein.
“Darryl always encouraged me to keep moving, too,” says Carrol. “I would call him my hero.”