When a sudden health trauma occurs and you become a caregiver, you may not always have time to prepare. Instead, when the time of need arrives, you assume the responsibility for helping your loved one through their recovery. Jessica experienced this transition when her mother Shari suffered a stroke in January of 2015.

Jessica was 19 and had recently moved to Houston from Oklahoma when she returned home to find her mother, Shari, on the floor.

Shari had fallen out of bed and was unable to get up, but she didn’t believe anything serious had happened. When Jessica asked her mother to reach for her hand so she could help her up, she realized it was more than just a fall.

Even though her mom resisted, Jessica knew she needed to call 911 for help. She followed her mother to the hospital and never left her side.

Jessica and Shari

“I was terrified,” Jessica said. “Mom took care of the bills and really kept the family together. I didn’t know what to do.”

After a few hours, they learned that Shari had suffered a stroke. The family had a long road to recovery ahead, and Jessica knew her mom needed her now more than ever. Being a caregiver requires making a lot of personal sacrifices.

“I quit my job immediately. I didn’t even think twice about it,” Jessica said.

While Shari was recovering, Jessica put her training at the fire department on hold to provide care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Jessica took over the household duties, from finances to grocery shopping to cleaning the laundry.

Jessica at Work

“It was stressful. I had to do everything,” Jessica said. “My life completely stopped, and I wasn’t able to get out and make friends in my new town because my mom was very dependent on me.”

With the focus on Shari’s recovery, Jessica felt a little forgotten.

“It’s kind of selfish, to be honest, but everyone asked how [my mom] was doing,” Jessica said. “Nobody asked how I’m doing, but I’m here, too.”

Jessica said providing all the care wasn’t easy, but being there to celebrate her mom’s progress made the struggles worthwhile.

Following the stroke, Shari was unable to sit up on her own. By working with an occupational therapist and a physical therapist, she learned how to move independently again.

“I don’t know what else to call it besides a miracle,” Jessica said.

Both Shari and Jessica credit the amazing progress she made during recovery to the care she received from Kindred.

“The care was amazing,” Jessica said. “I wouldn’t leave her with anybody else.”

Shari will continue on her road to recovery, becoming more independent every day. Daily tasks will become more manageable for her, and this will give Jessica a little more free time to pick up where she left off at the fire department.

Even though many of her plans have been delayed, Jessica doesn’t regret becoming her mother’s caregiver one bit.

“I would do it again,” Jessica said.

Are you in a situation like Jessica? If you have questions about healthcare care needs for your or your loved ones, call 1.866.KINDRED to speak with one of our Registered Nurses 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

By Claudia Lab