There is no handbook for someone who needs a liver transplant, much less one for her caregivers. Maneuvering through relationships with the medical community can be daunting for someone who is well, nearly impossible for someone who is gravely ill. Karen's liver failure and related side effects were growing worse every day. Karen's sister Penny moved in, and things improved for a while as they waited for news of a transplant. When Penny's health began to decline, the author stepped in for what she thought would be a week or two. Alongside her husband, who is Karen's brother, the two found themselves in an unexpected role of reluctant, default caregivers.
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able afternoon Alamogordo appointments April Arizona Transplant House arrived asked Karen bathroom began blood clot brain fog Brown Brusally Ranch cancer caregiver cell phone chemotherapy Dave Dave’s doctor donation donor dosage drive drove drugs Emergency Room encephalopathy facility fluid getting Green Valley heard help Karen hematology hepatic encephalopathy Hepatitis immunosuppressive drugs instructions Iwas Jack Kelly Jodie Karen was told Karen’s condition knew Lactulose later learned live liver disease liver transplant Marcia Mayo Clinic Mayo Hospital MELD score months morning moved needed normal nursing home paracentesis Paul Paul’s Penny Penny’s Phoenix physical therapy platelets prescription Randy realized rehab center routine scheduled Scottsdale seemed sister someone staff stay talked text-message things thought told Karen took toxin levels transplant patients transplant surgery transplant team trip Tucson tumor visited Karen waiting walking wanted weekend weeks wheelchair