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A week in the life of a dialysis patient

A week in the life of a dialysis patient


Ruthann Goularte, on dialysis since August, is one of 85 table captains at our May 19 Breakfast of Hope. Read about Ruthann below and visit for more information about the event.

by Jane Pryor, Northwest Kidney Centers

Posted on May 3, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 12:45 PM

Ruthann Goularte is a busy woman. So when the successful home décor and gift shop owner began experiencing the telltale signs of kidney failure, she at first dismissed them – until one day the swelling in her legs got so bad, Ruthann ‘s doctor ordered her to get prepped for dialysis.

She began dialysis in August 2010 and receives treatment three times a week at our Elliott Bay Kidney Center. She’ll keep up that routine indefinitely, a part-time job she can never quit until her name comes to the top of the kidney transplant waiting list.

“Within two weeks of going on dialysis I felt so much better,” Ruthann said.

With her business and home in Olympia, Ruthann keeps a condo in Seattle and makes the trip several times a week for treatment at Northwest Kidney Centers. She has created a mobile office in a mesh bag and uses each four hours on dialysis to work.

“I’ve got my phone, my computer, my purchase orders” in the bag, she said. “This is my chance to get something done in a quiet place.”

While she waits for a transplant, Ruthann keeps her business, Drees, humming, remains active on several boards and sees a silver lining in dialysis.

“It’s forced me to get out of my store more because I am a little bit of a workaholic,” she said.  “There have been many gifts with this.”

What is kidney dialysis?
Dialysis takes the place of your kidneys when they are unable to perform their job -- it removes toxic substances (impurities or wastes) from your blood. Most people on dialysis go to a center three times a week, four hours at a time. Dialysis is a lifeline for almost 400,000 Americans.

Join us as we raise funds for our patients on dialysis
Ruthann is one of 1,400 people who receive dialysis at Northwest Kidney Centers, the world’s first nonhospital dialysis provider. Founded almost 50 years ago, we remain an independent nonprofit organization closely tied to our community. Visit to register for the May 19 Breakfast of Hope to hear more about the patients who inspire us every day. Questions? Contact Wendy Stauff at or 206-720-8585.