Kidney pillows are filled with care and kindness

Receiving a kidney is one of the most incredible gifts a person living with kidney failure can ever hope to get, but a firm, kidney-shaped pillow is running a close second.

“Ever since I got it, I’ve been attached to it,” explained Thomas. “It makes getting up and walking a lot easier.”

Thomas Sr. received a heart pillow earlier this spring and speaking from experience, he says the firm pillows are very beneficial. Son Thomas agrees and says he can’t imagine not having the pillow right beside him as he recuperates after a kidney transplant from a living donor. The pillow is a gift from Transplant Manitoba – Gift of Life and MTS Volunteers and every kidney transplant patient and living donor now receive one after surgery.

“It is rewarding for staff to be able to give patients something after their surgery to help with their recovery,” said Tanya Henderson, Manager of Patient Care, GD4-CTU, adding D4 is very proud to be a part of this amazing inititative.  “Patients can use the pillow to provide support to the incision site while walking and as they deep breathe and cough which are both encouraged soon after surgery.”

Carefully handcrafted, the pillows are generously made by a dedicated group of former MTS employees and retirees who meet once a week. Deb Puls is part of that group, but she understands life on the unit.

“I used to work on D4 and I spent a year with the transplant clinic,” said Puls, adding she remembers watching patients trying to walk down the hall pulling an IV pole and clutching a big bed pillow. “We do heart pillows for patients at St. Boniface and they’ve been really well-received, and it made me think about kidney patients and how we might be able to help them.”

Puls met with Henderson and Transplant Manitoba – Gift of Life Manager Kim Werestiuk to discuss the idea and soon after, the volunteers sprang into action and began producing the distinctive blue and green pillows.