Stage 7: Return of Health
The point at which the individual feels back in charge of their life and health is a critical step to return of health. This is seen in the contrast of the ‘transplant patient’ and the ‘transplant recipient’. The patient is under the primary care of the transplant team and medical issues are central to the survival of the patient, whether in or out of the hospital. The recipient is stable enough medically, and confident enough, personally, to make decisions. Being a recipient includes the responsibility of self-management for having blood levels monitored, taking medication, and knowing when to contact the transplant team. Individuals go back and forth during health crisis from the roles of recipient and patient. Stage 7 occurs when the role of patient is no longer a primary one in the recipient’s life. They will continue to always have the responsibility for caring for their organ by NEVER missing their medication and being vigilant to any red flags about their health. A healthy life will always be critical. However, all these differences in one’s habits and routines become integrated into usual behaviors. Unfortunately, some individuals are challenged to move to Stage 7 and continue to see themselves in the patient role never experiencing return of health to Live Life to the Fullest!