Family caregivers can be unsung heroes. Their extraordinary labors and sacrifices are known to only themselves and to a few close family members. I’d like to recognize a truly extraordinary caregiver: my sister, Terry Heath.
Terry has been a nurse by profession for about 30 years. She used to be an emergency room nurse, and now is a Case Manager at a hospital in Jackson, MI. She also has, for more than a decade, labored long and hard to care for and to keep my Grandmother (who passed this year in her 90's) and my Mother alive.
She has visited, assessed symptoms and sicknesses, arranged for meds, and orchestrated scores of doctor visits and hospital runs. She has fiercely advocated for family members with hospitals, doctors, nurses, and insurance, nursing, and hospice companies. She has stayed up all night, lost countless hours of sleep, given tough love to, and held the hands of our ill family members to try to comfort them. Not 5 times, nor 10 times, nor 50 times, but literally, hundreds of times over the past decade and more. Hundreds. Of. Times. Imagine that. This year, in addition to working a full-time job as a Case Manager, she has labored almost full-time in a 2nd, unpaid job to help care for my Mother who is battling stage 4 cancer. She has made extraordinary sacrifices.
Terry exemplifies all that is best about the nursing profession.
Terry – You are no longer unsung. The word is out. You are Truly Extraordinary. For all that you have done for our parents and grandparents, thank you.