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Strength in positivity: South Shore musician pushes through dialysis by thinking good thoughts

Melinda Naugler is a longtime singer and guitar player. She’s been on dialysis for about a year due to kidney failure. There is a benefit scheduled for her at the Northfield District Fire Hall in West Northfield Aug. 27
Melinda Naugler is a longtime singer and guitar player. She’s been on dialysis for about a year due to kidney failure. There is a benefit scheduled for her at the Northfield District Fire Hall in West Northfield Aug. 27

BRIDGEWATER, NS - There are lots of things Melinda Naugler can’t do, but there are also lots of things she can, and those are the things she focuses on.

Naugler has kidney failure. A little more than a year ago, the 50-year-old Bridgewater resident quit her fulltime job at Bluenose RV and started dialysis. Three times a week, Naugler has to travel from Bridgewater to Queens General Hospital in Liverpool for treatment.

A benefit to help cover her medical costs is scheduled to happen at the Northfield District Fire Hall in West Northfield from 3-8 p.m. Aug. 27. The benefit will involve live entertainment, a silent auction, a yellow-rose auction and a bake sale, among other things.

Kidney failure

“I usually get here (to Liverpool) at about 6:30 in the morning,” she said.

If everything goes well with dialysis, the whole procedure takes about three hours. Sometimes, though, there are complications, and that prolongs things.  

Although Naugler has had the hereditary disease for a long time, she didn’t start being monitored until about seven years ago.

“I’d go up there (to Halifax) once every three months.”

In addition to being monitored, Naugler had to take blood-pressure pills and change her diet - and changing her diet has changed her life.

“If I was to get a transplant, I can’t see myself ever indulging in takeout food anymore,” Naugler said.

Music

Though not from Queens County, Naugler has spent a fair amount of time in the area.  Until recently, the singer and guitar player was in a band called Bluestar, which played regularly at the legion in Liverpool. In February, the band’s lead guitar player, Gerald Moses, died.

“So that’s over,” she said.

But, for Naugler, music isn’t finished, and it’s definitely something she can still do.

Naugler has been singing since she was seven, and she got her first guitar when she was about 11 years old. She performed at her first Hank Snow Tribute in Caledonia in 1985 and has gone to every tribute since.

“My parents used to tell me I could sing before I could talk,” she said.

Naugler’s biggest passion, other than to play music, is to help people.

Staying positive

“It’s made me stronger,” said Naugler about the experience of living with kidney failure.

When she first began to get dialysis, she made baby hats for the IWK. Then, in April, Naugler started to colour. She bought a colouring book filled with positive thoughts.

“One of the girls made a suggestion that I put (the pictures) on the wall at dialysis because they were so cheerful,” Naugler said.

That wall is now filled with all the positive affirmations Naugler has coloured during her dialysis appointments. She continues to colour positive quotes to help decorate the unit.  

“This is something that could really get you down,” she said. “I can’t allow that.”

Naugler said staying focused on the positive makes a big difference.

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