RANCES SURVIVED not one, but two liver transplants
and a succession of complications. Each time that she returned home
from an extended hospital stay it was a “miracle.” However,
the true miracle of Fran’s life was the way she and her husband
Bob lived and the love that they shared. The connection they shared
was obvious. They easily read each other’s thoughts and finished
sentences for each other. Both professional counselors, they shared
their skills by starting a not-for-profit counseling center where
they worked with people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction.
As her home health caregivers, we were always welcomed into Fran
and Bob’s home. Fran would always greet you with a smile even when
she knew our visits would bring about pain and hard work. Everything
was painfula touch to her skin, drawing blood, sitting up
and forcing her legs to hold as she stood and learned to walk again.
incredible sense of humor was never dampened throughout her struggle
for life. A camera and monitor were installed at the front door
to allow her to answer the door from her bedroom. She would get
a kick out of scaring her nurse and neighborhood children by talking
to them as they stood on her front porch. “Hey you, get off
my porch,” she would say, and then you would go in and find
Fran chuckling in her bed.
The magnitude of her illness required a lot of energy and skill
from her caregivers but she always managed to turn the situation
around to become our caregiver. What seemed like a casual conversation
became a comforting counseling session. We always left her home
with the amazing feeling that we gained so much more than we gave.
Fran was a counselor at heart with a tough, “no nonsense”
style that always hit the mark.
She was faced with setback after setback. In a paradoxical way,
Fran was tough but fragile, and her spirit and faith did not waver.
She would question why this was happening to her, but believed that
God had something planned for her. We thought she would get better
and continue to share with others and change lives through her counseling.
In retrospect, it seems that her purpose was to touch the lives
of her caregivers. She always reminded us why we chose this career
and how strong the human spirit can remain in the face of incredible
A few weeks after Fran’s death, we received a phone call from her
friends and family who had gathered on her birthday to have a party.
The celebration of her life continues.
Gina Guidry, RN, and Robin Webster, PT
CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital
Port Arthur, Texas