The fight of his life
WC man battles kidney disease, complications
A Webster City man is fighting for his life in an Omaha hospital.
Wong Thongsouk, of Webster City, has been battling kidney disease in both kidneys since May 2015. After years of dialysis three times a week, his kidneys only function about 10%. He and his doctors were preparing to put him on the waiting list for a transplant this spring when heart problems derailed those plans.
“He was sick and tired of being sick and tired and wanted off dialysis,” said Shylo Olson, an aunt of Thongsouk’s 20-year-old son, Braedin Thongsouk.
Wong Thongsouk had heart surgery on May 20 to have two heart valves repaired and everything initially went great. But later, his heart stopped and he was rushed into surgery again. The doctors were able to get his heart started again and decided to have him moved to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where he has been ever since.
“He has good days and he has had a few not so good days,” Olson said “Things are basically day-by-day.”
Wong Thongsouk has had to be hooked up to an ECMO machine because his heart won’t pump on its own. On Thursday, he was also diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and started medication for that.
“The family is having a hard time dealing with this,” said Olson. “It is very emotionally draining on them all, but they are holding onto hope.”
His parents, Moun and Chan Thongsouk, sisters Lynne Kannuan and Chien Maikhio, brothers Tong Thongsouk and Kit Thongsouk, and his son and Olson have been in Omaha to sit by his bedside as much as possible.
Wong Thongsouk is a 1993 graduate of Webster City High School. Before he was diagnosed with kidney disease, he worked at Van Diest Supply Company for almost 10 years. Olson said he loved his job there, but when he had to start traveling to Iowa Falls for dialysis three times a week, it became not feasible.
“This devastated Wong,” Olson said. “He has been a hard worker all his life.”
Olson described Wong Thongsouk as “the most caring person,” saying his goofy personality and silly giggle makes everyone smile. He loves to fish, go kayaking down the river, spend time with family and friends and grilling.
“Wong can make the best food on the grill,” Olson said.
A family man through and through, he’s been like a second dad to his niece, Cinestie Olson and has two great nieces, Grace and Kylee McBride.
“Family is and always has been important to Wong,” Olson said.
This long medical battle has been financially draining on the family, especially with Wong Thongsouk being in a hospital hours away from home. Braedin Thongsouk has had to take time off from work to stay by his dad’s side. Olson has set up donations to help Braedin and Wong with expenses and bills while Wong is in the hospital.
Donations can be made on Venmo @braedin-Thongsouk, on CashApp $BraedinThongsouk, on Paypal @bthongsouk or by mail to Braedin Thongsouk, P.O. Box 246, Duncombe, IA, 50532.