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Ginger, Volunteer Mentor (@gingerw)

Transplant Caregiver Advice: Got Tips to Share?

Transplants | Last Active: Jul 23, 2020 | Replies (32)

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@debbief

I’m also interested in receiving advice regarding caring for a heart transplant recipient. I’m struggling right now. On the one hand I’m so thankful for the surgery. On the other hand I’m ready to start living again. It’s only been 4 months. What do you do when one partner is recuperating and the other is healthy and active?

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Replies to "I’m also interested in receiving advice regarding caring for a heart transplant recipient. I’m struggling right..."

@debbief if the person can be alone then you should be able to do many things, but bear in mind that the post-transplant patient would probably like to be doing more too so try to not abandon him or her constantly. When I was post-transplant (liver) I encouraged my husband to do stuff. I was very able to be left alone after a few weeks. Of course that does vary with each patient.
If the patient continues to need a lot of care you need to be patient, they will be able to do more fairly soon. In the meantime is there anyone who could be with him/her? When I was pre-transplant my husband went away for a weekend so my daughter stayed with me. For a shorter time my sister came.

@gaylea1 that must have been very difficult for you. When I have been recovering from something – transplant, TKR – my husband has done all the shopping, something he abhors and never does otherwise, and he was very solicitous of me, sometimes too much!
JK

@debbief, Congratulations to both you and your husband for a successful transplant.
I would like to invite you to meet other heart transplant patients who will be able to assist you with caring for your husband. You just have to click, then post a question or say, 'Hi'. Heart transplant recovery: What to expect?
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/heart-transplant-recovery/
Is your husband able to be left alone for periods of time? You sound worn out to me. Is there anyway that you can get away to relax and to take care of you?

@debbief It is a whole new way of life, for the transplant recipient and all family members. Following the instructions from the transplant team is critical for everyone. And the recipient needs to understand also that their caregiver team has needs to be met, too. Don't forget about yourself! You can't be the best caregiver you want to be, unless you are also taking care of yourself. Is there someone who can spell you for a while and give you a break to get out and just enjoy yourself for a few hours? Being 4 months out from transplant, see about reinserting yourself into the things that brought you Joy before the surgery. It is a challenge to involve the patient in new things that they had also put on the back burner when they were ill. My own personal experience shows that if it is needed, don't hesitate to reach out for counseling help.
Ginger

@debbief, I have been thinking about you and wondering how you and your husband are getting along with his recovery. I hope that he is feeling better each day. I would like to share this article with you and with him. It is from patients who have shared their "how to" ideas for getting on with post transplant life.
Top Transplant Hacks: Patients Share Their Best Tips and Tricks
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/transplant/newsfeed-post/top-transplant-hacks-patients-share-their-best-tips-and-tricks/
How is this recovery period working out for you? What have you decided to do as you start to return to some of your normal activities?