At first glance, Luca has a baffling collection of audiology equipment. But each item plays a specific and important role in helping him to integrate into the hearing world.
Luca has severe hearing loss, so he always wears BTE (Behind the Ear) hearing aids. Without these, his world is all but silent. He also has separate waterproof hearing aids for showering, swimming and water activities. This is as much for safety as it is for convenience – children need to hear adults’ instructions in potentially dangerous environments like water.
To combat the problem of background noise in group and social situations, Luca has a “Roger System” that includes Touch Screen Microphones (TSM’s), a pass-around microphone, a hearing aid receiver, an audio hub and a sound field speaker. This system is used daily in Luca’s classroom and his gymnastics, taekwondo and piano teachers all wear the TSM’s . The system gives the wearer/user of the microphone a direct link to the receiver fitted to Luca’s hearing aid, adjusting for the background noise and distance in the process.
Extra microphones can be worn by other teachers/support staff and a handheld microphone is often used by his classmates during group discussions and presentations. An audio hub allows a direct link from multimedia presentations to Luca’s hearing aids. An added bonus for the class and teacher is the sound field speaker, which projects modified audio out to the whole class. The biggest challenge is to remember to mute the microphone during private conversations!
This amazing technology is essential for Luca, he wouldn’t be able to learn without it. But ensuring Luca has access to it hasn’t been a simple task. His mum Lisa has worked hard to access all available funding. Luca’s family and fundraising have covered the rest of the costs, with your help.
Currently, in Australia, nearly 25 per cent of people on dialysis are using peritoneal dialysis (PD). About 40 per cent of new patients choose peritoneal dialysis as their first treatment or while they are waiting for a transplant.
There are two types of PD:
- continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) – the day-time bags
- automated peritoneal dialysis (APD) – the overnight machine. This is the form of dialysis that Luca uses whilst he sleeps
Automated Peritoneal Dialysis
Luca has had a catheter (tube) inserted in his abdomen. Special PD fluid is used to clean his blood. Every night Luca’s PD runs for 8 cycles which takes just under 9 hours to complete. Each cycle has 3 phases: Inflow, Dwell & Outflow
Luca can sleep soundly however if he lies on the tube an alarm will sound to let us know that he needs to move so the fluid can continue going in and out. This does happen quite frequently and the alarm is very loud!!
During the day Luca carries out his normal activities. Luca wears a special belt to keep his catheter tube protected and out of the way.
It is of utmost importance that all Luca’s equipment is kept clean and sterile. Infection entering through catheter site or tube can lead to peritonitis which is an extremely serious condition. Rob and Lisa have been trained to set up the machine within stringent antiseptic hygiene parameters so that the risk of infection is kept to an absolute minimum.
Live kidney donation is not a cure for end stage kidney failure however it does reduce or remove the need for dialysis and reduces the time the recipient will have to wait for a kidney transplant. The success rates are higher for living donor kidneys than deceased donor kidneys.
To be a live donor, you must have normal kidney function and overall good health. Your blood and tissue type must also match the recipient’s so that their immune system will not automatically reject the transplanted kidney.
(Luca’s blood group is O.)
|Recipient blood group|
|Can receive a kidney from someone with blood group|
The transplanted kidney requires ongoing care. Luca will need to take medications to stop his body rejecting the donor kidney (anti-rejection medications) for as long as he has the transplanted kidney.
The Australian and New Zealand Paired Kidney Exchange (ANZKX) Program
The Australian and New Zealand Paired Kidney Exchange Program (ANZKX) is a collaborative live kidney donor exchange program that involves Australia and New Zealand. The goal of ANZKX is to facilitate live kidney donor transplantation by helping to match incompatible donor-recipient pairs.
A paired kidney exchange can happen when a live donor (Donor #1), who is willing to donate to a spouse, friend or relative (Recipient #1), is unable to donate because they have an incompatible blood or tissue type. ANZKX will help find compatible donors amongst other registered pairs (such as Donor #2 and Recipient #2 as shown below), who might be a suitable match, and thus enable two compatible living donor transplants to occur.
Participation in the ANZKX Program increases the chance of a living donor kidney transplant.
Participant’s information is registered in a secure computer database that contains all the registered donor/recipients pairs across Australia and New Zealand.
The computer program searches the entire available database of registered recipient/donor pairs to look for combinations that might enable a suitable kidney exchange to occur. If the computer finds a potential match doctors will arrange for the final tissue typing test for the recipient and willing living donor.
Looks like Luca has nailed persistence, determination and focus.