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Dialysis Nurse Becomes Kidney Patient After COVID-19

The Journey from Dialysis Nurse to Patient

Raymart Pecolera had been a dialysis nurse for three years when his kidneys suddenly failed due to kidney hypoplasia.

Raymart Pecolera started his nursing career in 2018 in the City of Ormoc, Republic of the Philippines. His first role as a nurse was within a hospital’s surgical ward, before being promoted to working in a dialysis center, where he thrived.

Pecolera was still working as a dialysis nurse in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world. He became a frontline worker, aiding people with chronic kidney disease maintain life-sustaining care. In November 2021, Pecolera contracted COVID-19 and was subsequently hospitalized for treatment. While in the hospital, doctors discovered that he had kidney hypoplasia, which means his kidneys are smaller than normal, and that he would need dialysis himself. 

“I guess it’s a blessing in disguise that I got COVID,” Pecolera recounts. “I finally found out that I have small kidneys and was diagnosed early.” 

He began dialysis during his hospital stay and continues to receive dialysis three times a week.

Adjusting to a New Work-Life Balance 

After recovering from COVID-19, Pecolera returned to work, and began receiving dialysis treatment at the same hospital where he was employed. It was a difficult transition, personally and professionally. 

“I actually had to cannulate myself because I was the senior nurse,” Pecolera recalls of his experience at the hospital where he previously worked. 

It was also hard learning how to navigate between being both a patient and a care provider. “I would get intimidated by patients who kept asking how I was both their nurse and a patient.” 

Despite the difficulties, Pecolera has continued personally and professionally with an upbeat attitude. “I’m happy to have that positive vibe in myself that helps me through hard days,” he says.

The Benefits of Working with Fresenius Medical Care

Pecolera transferred to a Fresenius Medical Care dialysis center in September 2023. By that time, he’d been receiving dialysis for nearly two years. His prior employer did not cover the treatment cost for dialysis, requiring Pecolera to pay for dialysis out of pocket. “I couldn’t save a penny in my previous company,” he says.

One of the major benefits of working with Fresenius Medical Care is that Pecolera’s employer-provided insurance plan now covers the cost of his treatment. “I’m so happy my treatment is covered,” he exclaims. In addition to his medical insurance, Pecolera has been pleased with his new employer and is excited to continue working as a dialysis nurse.   

The Promise of Transplant

While Pecolera continues to maintain regular dialysis treatment, he also recently completed the necessary screening to receive a kidney transplant. The process can take several years in the Philippines, but Pecolera is excited at the prospect, and continues to bring his characteristic positive vibes along on his kidney disease journey. 


Publication date: June 2024

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