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Publix meat cutter, 73, balances job and dialysis

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Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 06:51 PM
CARROLLWOOD -

After 38 years managing hotels and private clubs, William Darby is anything but a typical Florida retiree.

The 73-year-old includes working nearly full time — at night — to leave days open for thrice-weekly kidney dialysis.

Darby's Publix Super Market job provides much more than an alternative to retirement, which he experimented with years earlier.

"I tried retirement for three or four months; gave it up," he said. "With the medical bills, I need the income and the insurance" employment provides.

For five years, the Westfield, N.J., native has been a meat cutter at the Apex Publix, 16560 N. Nebraska Ave., south of the Florida/Nebraska avenues' junction. "I work nights; I close five to six nights a week," he said.

Since January, Darby spends three mornings weekly at the Fresenius Medical Services outpatient clinic in Carrollwood, which began serving dialysis patients there in 1995.

Registered nurse Donna McDuffie, longtime clinical manager of the facility at 4553 Gunn Highway, said scheduling includes third shifts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to better serve patients such as Darby, requiring sessions of nearly four hours each.

"We try to accommodate any kind of schedule so people can continue their lifestyle, work, and work their treatments around that schedule," said McDuffie, adding she enjoys her job, co-workers and caring for patients. A Lutz resident, she lives just north of the apex and often sees Darby when she shops at Publix.

Like many of his fellow patients, Darby whiles away the hours with cable TV, solitaire or other Internet games on monitors at each patient station.

He takes a stoic stance about his plight.

"It's something you've got to do; the alternative isn't too good" and a kidney transplant at age 73 is impractical, he said. "Having been through a couple of catastrophes in my life — colon cancer and prostate cancer, like five years ago — this is just another step, another leap in life."

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