I’m so late with my notes, please forgive me.
Well, on 5/17 we had our meeting at North Penn Baptist Church. Attendees were Patricia, a new member who’d contacted me through a PCA referral and Linda, my good friend from back in the day. Patricia has two parents who are ill and is facing some tough decisions complicated by her father’s inability to let his family handle the money though he is in very bad health. Her siblings are involved in both parents’ care with each taking different shifts each day to cover them, so her family situation is pretty much the reversal of many where there is only one caregiver. She’s seeking help with getting her father to let go of the strings where I referred her case to the Good Shepherd intervention group…they’re working with her to help with this daunting situation. Linda has vast experience having taken care of her mother who had dementia and other physical difficulties. She lost her mom about 5 years ago and feels her information will help someone else through their difficult time. Thank you, Linda. We all had a great discussion focusing on caregivers’ need to keep them healthy.
Our speakers for the evening, Ramona and Jay Howard, are a dynamic couple who share their story of love, faith and determination where Ramona is a multi-organ transplant recipient and Jay, her caregiver husband. Ramona is a very strong woman having come through the transplant and numerous setbacks involved with having the procedures (liver, pancreas, stomach & intestines) including a 3 month coma where she lost 12” of the transplanted intestines she’d received to find that her father-in-law had died of a massive heart attack. Meanwhile, her husband, Jay, was watching over Ramona and attempting to keep his mom from losing it when his father died. His story is very touching and gives one another perspective on a caregiver’s life.
One point Jay made that struck home with me was that as a caregiver watching your spouse fighting a daily life and death battle, you are on a different plane than those that you know. If you find your tolerance for nonsense is short, it’s normal; the trick is thinking before you bust someone’s chops about this very real feeling. Well put, Jay well said.
Thank you, Ramona & Jay, for sharing your story and emphasizing the importance of organ donation in our community. They are volunteers with Gift of Life Organ Donor, Organ Transplant organization, as am I.