German Village Society trustee Jay Godfrey on mend after kidney transplant
Jay Godfrey got the call at 10 p.m. April 8, when he was tired and headed for bed.
It was from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
A match for his kidney transplant had been found, and hospital personnel were asking how soon could he get there.
Godfrey, a member of the German Village Society board of trustees, said that after a brief conversation with his nephrologist, Kevin Schroeder of Ohio Kidney Consultants, he called back and said he was on his way.
"I was getting ready to call it quits for the day," said Godfrey, 59.
"It was a Wednesday night. I still had work Thursday. I was just winding down and then I got this call.
"It was a combination of anxiety and excitement at the same time."
The next day, the transplant team transplanted the new kidney and connected it directly to his bladder.
He was released from the hospital on Easter Sunday, taking with him his new kidney and 37 surgical staples holding incisions in place.
Godfrey, 59, is vice president for energy marketing and renewables for American Electric Power.
The former German Village resident lives downtown in the Parks Edge Condominiums. His residence is a blessing of sorts, he said, because he has no home maintenance or lawn-care worries.
With the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic still a concern, Godfrey is sheltering in place with his wife, artist Lisa Parks Godfrey, taking only regular trips to the doctor.
He said he has three computers, four monitors, a phone and a printer so he can continue to do his job.
"What else do I need?" Godfrey said.
But it's been a long road for Godfrey, who began seeing a nephrologist 18 years ago, after his doctors noted his kidneys weren't functioning property.
"We don't know the exact answer" to the cause of the disease, he said. "It could have been exacerbated by different things, whether it was ibuprofen, blood pressure ... ."
He said he followed doctors' orders by eating sensibly, cutting out sodium as much as possible and losing weight.
Yet the function was going down and his doctor put him on a waiting list for a new kidney.
Godfrey began peritoneal-dialysis treatment for his in-stage renal disease.
Doctors left both underperforming kidneys in his body because they weren't diseased, he said.
Still upbeat and able to maintain a sense of humor, Godfrey explains the new kidney -- part of the renal system that removes urine from the body -- is taking some of the work off the two other kidneys.
"It's like adding an inline fuel filter in your car," he said.
According to Lifeline of Ohio -- an independent, nonprofit group that facilitates organ, eye and tissue donations -- 115,000 Americans are waiting on a life-saving transplant.
Jessica Petersen, spokeswoman for the organization, said Lifeline continually attempts to educate the public about the value of organ donation.
Whereas 60% of Ohioans are on a statewide registry, nationwide only 1% of organs that are recovered are from those who die, Petersen said.
And the organs are from people in the hospital who are on a ventilator, she said.
If they are not registered donors, the family has to give permission to recover organs, she said.
"That's what brings organ donation potential down," Petersen said. "We are always trying to get the message out, always trying to share the information."
"I think the lesson is people who donate organs save lives," Godfrey said.
"Bless the people who are on the donor list. It may or may not be a match at the time it's needed, but you're donating life. That's the takeaway there."