Tag Archives: Japan

A kidney for a guitar

Yesterday, February 27, I posted a message from Gerald Neufeld. As it turns out, the Canadian Mennonite magazine recently published an article about Gerald and me, written by Amy Dueckman.

A kidney for a guitar

‘Small steps of faith’ lead to organ donation

By Amy Dueckman, B.C. Correspondent
Abbotsford, B.C. | Feb 22, 2017 | Volume 21 Issue 5

geraldneufeld

Gerald Neufeld prepares to donate one of his kidneys in the Paired Kidney Exchange Program last year. (Photo courtesy of Gerald Neufeld)

Gerald Neufeld of B.C. and Russ Sawatsky of Ontario have several things in common: they both served as missionaries in Japan, where they met their wives; and they both attended Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg at the same time. But the donation of a kidney for one and the receiving of a kidney for the other gives the two a life-transforming connection like no other.

Neufeld, pastor of Mennonite Japanese Christian Fellowship in Surrey, also serves part-time as music coordinator of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford. One Sunday morning in November 2012, his 12-string guitar was stolen from Emmanuel as he was preparing to lead a worship team. He shared the loss as a prayer concern at a Vancouver pastors’ meeting. In response, the pastor from First United Spanish Mennonite Church said he knew one of his members had a 12-string guitar he wasn’t using. The member offered Neufeld the guitar at no cost, and he gratefully received it. Another request that later came from the pastors group was that someone from the Spanish church needed a kidney transplant.

Meanwhile, Sawatsky had been struggling for years with kidney failure and blogging about his journey (see kidneyforruss.wordpress.com). He went on medical disability leave when he began dialysis in 2014.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

If, like Gerald, you are interested in living organ donation, this link includes general information about both kidney and liver donations.

You can also register as a deceased organ donor by following the links or the contact information on this site for the province or territory where you reside.

The Strawbelly Express, with Pictures!

When I lived in Japan, I once saw a little red pickup truck, painted a bright strawberry red. It had alloy wheels (or as we used to say, “mag” wheels), oversized tires and wooden slats on either side of the pickup bed to give it a bit of a stylized rural effect. Written in gold-leaf script along the side were the words, “Strawbelly Express.” The Japanese language does not distinguish between L and R so the mistake in spelling is understandable.

When I had the catheter inserted into my belly back in July to facilitate peritoneal dialysis, I immediately recalled that pickup truck with the memorable name. Except that I am now the “Strawbelly” (I don’t know whether my speed warrants the term “Express,” however).

It’s rather amazing to think that the doctors who performed the insertion essentially used a medical version of an auger to drill a hole into my belly and then tunnel through to create an exit site for the catheter. All while I was awake, mind you, as they had me push out my belly as part of the procedure. It didn’t hurt while it was happening, thanks to a local anaesthetic, but of course, after a few hours and for the next several days, it was not exactly comfortable. By now, though, I’m hardly aware of it, and it can stay comfortably tucked out of the way, except when I do dialysis, of course.

How about those pictures though…

The exit site is all nicely dressed up for polite company. The piece of tape below helps to keep any tugging and subsequent bleeding from occurring.

The exit site is all nicely dressed up for polite company. The piece of tape below helps to keep any tugging and subsequent bleeding from occurring.

The exit site undressed. Note the square imprint from a day of wearing the dressing. Except when I have a shower (no baths permitted) it's always covered up.

The exit site undressed. Note the square imprint from a day of wearing the dressing. Except when I have a shower (no baths permitted) it’s always covered up.

The world's biggest pharmacy delivery! Every month, I get a pallet full of supplies, mostly of the dextrose solution that is pumped into my peritoneal cavity.

The world’s biggest pharmacy delivery! Every month, I get a pallet full of supplies, mostly of the dextrose solution that is pumped into my peritoneal cavity.

And here is the machine that does the work, filling and draining the fluid from my belly while I sleep (theoretically -- the sleep, that is. It does work. I just don't always sleep that well). Notice the 5-litre bag on top of the machine. There is another bag underneath.

And here is the machine that does the work, filling and draining the fluid from my belly while I sleep (theoretically — the sleep, that is. It does work. I just don’t always sleep that well). Notice the 5-litre bag on top of the machine. There is another bag underneath.

And this is the tool used to insert the catheter...not! Just a random auger for your viewing pleasure.

And this is the tool used to insert the catheter…not! Just a random auger for your viewing pleasure.