The Story of Ernestine Mattocks

My name is Devin Smith, and I would like to introduce myself and tell you about my heart for caregiving, which begins with my grandmother, one of my heroes. My grandmother, Ernestine Mattocks, is the personification of love. There is nobody like her. Growing up, I used to get jealous when others would call her Ma-Ma; she was MY Ma-Ma. I understand now what I didn’t then, which is that her heart exudes a special kind of love. The kind that feels like a hug from Mama, no matter who you are. But her heart isn’t just big figuratively speaking, it is critically oversized. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 1998. Her heart is larger than an average person’s, with a fistula, which currently allows her heart to operate at only 20% capacity. Over the years, I’ve seen her undergo countless surgeries and even flat-line. The doctors told us her days were numbered to six months to a year.Yet today, 11 years later, she is approaching her third year on a Dobutamine drip. A Dobutamine drip increases cardiac output in cases of congestive heart failure. Her success with this appliance is one of the longest recorded runs anyone has haad on this medication.Valuing family over everything, I recently left my full-time job, so I could work remotely and support her more often. When I’m there, I take care of the housekeeping and most importantly, provide her the company that makes her feel loved and supported. I’m thankful for my family. Together, we ensure that she is supported throughout her challenges. Most importantly, we shower her with love. Love is her trademark. I’m convinced, it’s is how she continues to overcome the odds of survival. I firmly believe that love and support are critical as a caregiver. I hope my story encourages anyone who reads my story to better understand and participate proudly with their loved ones. I’m thankful for the community created by Caregiving Network that allows me to share this with you.

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