Omar has been through a rough experience caring for his wife, who received a heart and kidney transplant. He has supported her through everything and helps her with whatever she needs. This has been especially challenging because Omar worked in Georgia during the transplant process and his wife lived in New York City. He was not able to move to New York to be with her until four months after her transplant.
Since Omar needed to be in Georgia to work, his wife’s sister Georgette lived with her in New York to manage the day-to-day aspects of care. Georgette was the one who got in touch with and learned information from the doctors, and she would relay this information back to Omar. Omar’s wife will also tell him things he needs to know about her care, and Omar has sought out others who have also been through the transplant experience to speak with them.
Omar feels he has made huge sacrifices in his work life and his financial stability to care for his wife. He would try to visit his wife every one or two weeks but had to travel back to Georgia to make money. Sometimes, he was not able to find enough money for the flight. He used to work as a barber, so his work hours were as flexible as he needed them to be, but if he wasn’t working, he wasn’t making money.
Financial assistance is something Omar wishes he had been offered, because he does not have time to look for it. He can only concentrate on his wife’s care and working enough to keep up with their bills. He has not investigated financial support from the government because he does not trust that they will actually provide him with any help. However, if someone at the hospital had made him aware of this kind of financial support and helped him to apply for it, he would have done so.
Omar feels like the healthcare team has been supportive of his wife, but he has never interacted with them. His work hours mean he is not able to call them if need be. Omar wishes there was a way that someone could sit down and talk to him about the transplant caregiver experience so he could ask questions. He has never been through something like this before and he would prefer the support of someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Spirituality and faith have been a large part of Omar’s support system, but he does not feel he has gotten support from the healthcare team in the way that he needed it. To better support transplant caregivers, he believes there should be a fund made available to transplant recipients to help with financial costs. He also would have liked to have someone like a social worker visit their home and speak with him and his family so they could determine exactly what they needed and provide them with the appropriate help.