Carrie Gobble knows what it's like to make the rounds of doctors, stick to a regimen of medicine, spend time in the hospital, wait anxiously for months and then get a second chance at life. She also knows what it's like to have someone to share the experience with.
Diagnosed as an infant with cystic fibrosis (CF), Carrie was relatively healthy as a child and teenager. But doctors, medicines and hospital visits were a part of her life. As a young adult, she had a double lung transplant. She was assigned a mentor when she became a patient of the lung transplant program at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and knows the value of having someone who understands.
"Being able to relate to others is a basic need," she says. "We're social creatures."
As a mentor, Carrie offers patients in the lung transplant program the opportunity to shadow her during a clinic visit. They will find that the Barnes-Jewish staff strives to get to know patients on a personal level and make visits as easy and stress-free as possible.
"Barnes-Jewish actually makes it easier for the patients to cover all the bases at one time," Carrie says. Having pulmonary function and lab testing on the same floor as the physician and nurse coordinator streamlines the patient visit.
"The easier it is for the patient, the less stress there is and the less struggle there is to breathe," she says.
Mentors like Carrie also make themselves available to answer questions, in person or by phone. After her transplant, Carrie had a bumpy recovery and worked her way through a list of complications before resuming normal life.
"That was one thing I really appreciated about having a mentor," she said. "Being able to call and ask questions of someone who's been through it all."