Heart Recipient David Jeter and his wife Lydia
A Support Network is Key
In 2005 Lydia Jeter took on the role as primary caregiver to her husband David. The doctors said he needed a heart transplant. With little to no experience in the medical field, Lydia opened a new chapter in her life.
Lydia’s top three tips for a new caregiver involve collaborating with others, being curious, and taking time to care for one’s self.
Lydia said she could not have successfully taken care of David without her daughter, Courtney. Courtney lived near, knew friends in their support group and was engaged in the process. Their son Chris, was also supportive, but lived across the country. By allowing friends and family to collaborate on ways to help, Lydia was able to cope more easily with David’s medical journey.
The same collaboration applies to the transplant team. If Lydia questioned a part of David’s recovery process, she called the doctors involved with David’s transplant. Lydia remained proactive — she did not walk away from appointments without her questions answered.
Although Lydia spent large amounts of time with David, she also took time for herself. As transplantation and post-transplantation can be stressful, Lydia found something as simple as shopping made her feel more relaxed.
Today David Jeter celebrates his robust health by seeing a personal trainer twice a week, being active in the yard, playing golf and tennis. He also takes courses at a local university.
Courtney was so influenced by her father’s post-transplant recovery that she decided to go to nursing school. Today she is a nurse at the University of Colorado Hospital in the surgical trauma intensive care unit.
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