Caring for Family in and Outside of CarDon

Dee Freeman shines as a testament to CarDon’s tradition of family caring for family. Now the director of nursing at Morristown Manor, her journey toward healthcare began in high school when she helped take care of her nephew during his many hospital stays due to leukemia.

That experience drove her to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at the tender age of 17. She worked as a CNA for several years before earning her Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certificate from Ivy Tech-Richmond and then becoming a Registered Nurse (RN).

Dee joined the CarDon family two years ago and was immediately put to the test, as COVID hit Indiana during her first month at Morristown Manor. She recently overcame another major challenge with her family outside of the community.

In January of last year, Dee’s oldest son, Brayton, was admitted to the hospital for end-stage renal disease (or kidney failure).

Dee and Brayton on Christmas Day of 2021 — just 10 days after surgery.

“It was quite a shock because he’s only 25,” she said. “And we’re still not sure what the cause of it was exactly.”

After thorough testing and treatment, doctors determined that a kidney transplant was the only solution. Dee applied to be a living donor but was rejected due to being a smoker.

“As soon as I found that out, I quit smoking cold turkey because I would do anything for my son,” she said. “Two weeks later, I reapplied and underwent more blood work. Then, on my dad’s birthday, they let me know that I was eligible. On December 15, we went in for our transplants. It couldn’t have gone smoother.”

Dee’s kidney was a perfect match, and she and Brayton had to spend just a few days in the hospital. Afterwards, the doctors discovered that Dee’s kidney was actually working too well, and Brayton has to stay extra hydrated to keep up with it. But that’s a small price to pay for an otherwise miraculous recovery.

“Everything has been wonderful,” Dee said. “My son is doing amazing. It’s been a long road; I’m glad we’re at the end of it.”

In and outside of CarDon, Dee always goes the distance to provide the best care she possibly can. She’s been on this path since she was just a young girl, and she doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon.