Anything is possible
heart transplant, inspirational story, organ transplant
Let's start with "What is a caregiver"? "Who can become a caregiver"? According to Wikipedia a Caregiver is....
A caregiver or carer is an unpaid or paid member of a person's social network who helps them with activities of daily living. Caregiving is most commonly used to address impairments related to old age, disability, a disease, or a mental disorder.
Typical duties of a caregiver might include taking care of someone who has a chronic illness or disease; managing medications or talking to doctors and nurses on someone's behalf; helping to bathe or dress someone who is frail or disabled; or taking care of household chores, meals, or bills for someone who cannot do these things alone.
With an increasingly aging population in all developed societies, the role of caregiver has been increasingly recognized as an important one, both functionally and economically.
In the last 4 years, not only am I Lauren's mother but I am officially been categorized as Lauren's Caregiver by the state of Massachusetts. After Lauren's first heart transplant when we were being discharged to go home, we were asked "Who will be Lauren's Caregiver"? Lauren was still very weak and needed help in every aspect of daily living. A person needed to be listed, if not me then they would have had someone come to the house. Without a thought I said "I will take care of my daughter". It had to be officially documented, I was Lauren's caregiver. I was responsible for Lauren's care, doctor's appointments, medication, preparing food, bathing, paying her bills, every aspect of life in general. As time when on, Lauren was able to care for herself, but now after her second transplants we are starting over again.
Besides having a double transplant, a kidney and a heart on May 17, 2018, Lauren has a rare form of muscular dystrophy, and scoliosis.
I can tell you being a caregiver is a very rewarding position, even though I take care of my daughter, she is my grown daughter. Lauren is 28 years old. She may be my child, but she is also a grown women. I have to respect her privacy and treat her with proper dignity Ex: when I am helping her shower, using the toilet, you know the private stuff.
So many parents are caregivers for their adult children. To be honest it is hard. We have taken care of our children from birth, and now that they are adults, it does take a toll on you physically and emotionally.
In my house, my primary job is caring for Lauren. But that is not all I do.. I am very fortunate, my husband is able to take care of the family financially. So not only do I take care of Lauren, I have a home to take care of. Which can be overwhelming at times.
When we were getting ready to be discharged from the hospital, my sister Donna was with us. Donna left the hospital a couple of days prior to us leaving to come to the house to prepare it. Mainly cleaning, organizing, putting clean bedding down, sanitizing the house for Lauren. Thank you so much Donna for all your help, Love you.
Since being home, my mom and my sister Lauren came from Florida to see Lauren and to offer any help I may need. My sister Laureen has stayed to help and get me organized and adjusted to being back at home. I have learned to say yes, to help. Lauren has asked if she is stepping on toes here, my response "NO, go for it". Not many people have this extra help so I feel blessed. Thank you Laureen for everything.
Lauren and I lived in the hospital for 6 month waiting for her transplants. We came home on June 18, 2018. I am writing this post on July 23, 2018 and last week I finally unpacked our suitcases. I just couldn't look at them. I am still finding it hard to adjust to home living. All the stuff you take for granted has been given back to us. After living in the hospital for so long, just being able to sit in the back yard is a treat. The little things, are the best things.
This is my second time around as a caregiver for Lauren. I have learned so much from the first time around. The most important thing I have learned is to accept help from others. I am not a super women. It is so easy to get burnt out. Personally I have a hard time accepting help, now that it has been offered to me, I will take it. I am only good to Lauren and the rest of my family if I learn to take care of myself also.
If you are a caregiver, (it took me a long time to learn this), you are the first priority. You cannot take care of anyone if you don't take care of yourself. I know it is easier said than done, but if you have anyone that offers help, take it. If you know someone that is a caregiver, maybe you can offer some help. As little as maybe, giving the caregiver an hour to themselves. It could mean the world to them, it does to me.
Below I have listed some keys points to help you to become the best caregiver you can be. If you are a caregiver and would like to reach out my email is
email@example.com we are not alone.
Most importantly, remember that taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of someone else.
***** Keys to Caring for YourselfIt‘s one thing to gear up for a short-term crisis. But it takes different skills to provide care over a longer period of time. You’ll be more successful if you learn to take care of yourself, starting immediately. Some things to remember:
Lauren & Lynne
Strength in a Heartbeat, Diary of a Heart Transplant
Read our personal journey on the heart transplant list