Just Be There

We’ve had a rough couple of weeks in our household, and things are just now returning to normal.  Once again, my husband had a surgery that went well and a recovery that didn’t.  Honestly, he’s spent so much time in a hospital lately that I seriously considered hauling in his favorite recliner chair and repainting the walls of the room his favorite color.  I figured if he had to be stuck for so long in a hospital room, we may as well make it nice.  Luckily, he was released before I gave in to the urge to redecorate his surroundings and now he’s back home where he belongs.

I’ve always found that when difficult times arrive, I spend all my time and energy just coping, and don’t really “process” what’s happened until later. But now that things have finally calmed down, I find myself looking back over the past few weeks and realizing one very important thing:  there is no way in the world I would have managed without the amazing support of so many caring people.

Hospitals have always been scary places for me (I tend to faint at the sight of blood), but I found out they’re even scarier when the patient is your loved one and and they aren’t doing so well.  And you know what helped me deal with that fear?  The nursing staff who were unfailingly cheerful and attentive, and who always took the time to reassure me when I needed it.  Being an advocate for a patient in a hospital is exhausting, both physically and emotionally, but seeing how good the nurses were at caring for my husband made it so much easier to bear.

I’m also incredibly thankful for the many friends and relatives who took the time to call and text, keeping track of my husband’s progress and offering nonstop encouragement and support.  There were times when those texts were the lifeline I needed to stay (or at least try to appear) calm and strong, and other times when they  provided relief from the boredom of sitting in a hospital room day after day, or gave me a much-needed laugh.  Friends and family are gifts, and you never realize just how much of a gift until you’re in a tough spot and they’re right there with you every step of the way.

It was also a gift to see so many people reaching out to my husband in his time of need.  He had more people praying for him than I could possibly count.  Cards arrived almost daily, some from college friends he hasn’t seen in decades, and all of them helped raise his spirits.  One of his old friends sent him personalized copies of the books he’d written about his own battle with cancer, and the tips for staying positive helped enormously.  Frankly, my husband isn’t usually much for reading, but he not only read those books, he took one of them with him when he was readmitted to the hospital and read from it daily.

This post is more personal than what I usually write, and I hope I haven’t overdone the detail.  But the reason I’m sharing it is simple.  The next time someone you know is going through a tough time, please reach out and offer them your support.  Don’t let fear of intruding or “being a pest” stop you.  Because even if they don’t have time to acknowledge it or respond to you, your care and concern will mean the world to them.  Trust me, it really will.

103 thoughts on “Just Be There

  1. It really does help if others let you know that they know that things are not going as usual. Don’t need to be clever — just be there!
    Hope that the rough patch smoothes out soon!❤⚘❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m sorry you’ve been going through this but your thoughts about reaching out speak to me. I’m the sort of person who’d hesitate, overhink it– but you’ve shown me a better way to be. Stay strong, am sending heal thing thoughts your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A friend of mine lost her daughter suddenly, and she told me, “Please tell people that their texts and phone messages help. I read them all and listen to them all. I may not feel up to responding, but they all help.” Those words stuck with me. And with my husband’s recent hospital stay, I realized what she meant. I used to overthink reaching out too, afraid I was intruding on someone’s grief or troubles. Now I know better.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m sorry to hear about that second surgery, but very glad to know you found support both inside the hospital and with your friends and family. I hope the coming weeks are more relaxed and pleasurable, both for you and for your husband!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This is so helpful, Ann. I admit I get worried that texting you during the days of ebb and flow with Dave’s illness might be an intrusion, so Nancy was my intermediary. I was so glad to hear Dave came home, and I should have written to tell you so.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ann – I am so sorry you and your husband have had a difficult time. I hope things have improved for the both of you. I understand what you are going through so your feelings connect with me and your words of advice are well taken.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I can second the advice at the end of your post. My mum is staying with us this summer, so that she can undergo radiation therapy. It has sucked up almost all of my creative energy–and I don’t mind a bit. But I am flagging. So is she, and we have weeks to go. The calls from my siblings have kept her engaged, and often laughing. This week our mailbox filled with cards, letters and books from many of her oldest and dearest friends. She brightened immediately. So, don’t feel intimidated if you have someone dealing with tough medical times. You have no idea how welcome outside support can be, and how it lifts the spirits.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. wise encouragement Ann, prayers for you all that he completely heals!

    And what a thoughtful friend, sharing his own experience … we all react differently but learning new coping skills helps heaps 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  8. So sorry to hear what you’ve both been going through, Ann. Glad things seem to be looking up. I appreciate your reminder to reach out to our friends despite qualms that we might be intruding. It’s so important to know that people care.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Donna! Things do seem to be looking up, which is such a relief. And this experience has really taught me how important it is to show others we care, especially when we know they’re dealing with something difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a sensitive and beautifully written post, Ann. I couldn’t agree with you more. I have also written about the trauma of being in a hospital, and how meaningful it is when you receive a caring message during a dark moment. So often, people think they might be “bothering you,” when it’s quite the opposite. That support is a lifeline!
    Glad the worst is behind you. Now that the crisis is over, I hope you are able to give yourself some much needed TLC and self-love. Even with great nursing care, your presence there most certainly made all the difference with your husband’s recovery – I am certain.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Judy! He is doing much better, and we’re very grateful. But yes, no matter how good the nurses are, it’s so important to have someone there to advocate for the patient, especially during long stays. That person can do all the little things the nurses are too busy to do, and also make sure no mistakes are made…everyone is human, and mistakes do happen…and just provide company and moral support. And it is so nice to have my husband home, and also nice to have time to do the little things I was too busy to do while he was hospitalized!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so sorry for the ordeal you and your husband have been going through of late. It is comforting to learn about the care and support you have been getting from friends and family and the hospital staff. I pray to the powers that be that moments of worry are firmly behind you now,

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Father God, thank you for the reminder we need our people near us, and encouraging us, even when we can’t always respond, but it starts with us using our words. Thank you for Ann’s compassion, and I pray for her strength and courage as she trusts in you, Father, and cares for her husband and family. Provide for her needs, Lord. I also pray for her husbands full recovery and full healing as he leans into You for all his needs. Father, we thank you and pray for Your guidance on their journey. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  12. So glad your husband is now home and you have a moment to recoup. I agree that friends and family are a lifeline. I imagine they were that good to you and your husband because you are that kind of friend too. My prayer for you is no more setbacks or chances to redecorate outside accommodations!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ann, I’m so glad you had that support that you so needed. It’s so important to feel that we’re not alone during these difficult times, both for your husband and for you. I truly hope your husband is recovering well and I send you lots of love and my warmest wishes too. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband and the difficult time you’ve gone through the last couple of weeks. I said a prayer for him and for you. I hope he is feeling better soon. Thank you for sharing and for the encouragement to reach out to those who are struggling. Sending a hug, Ann!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Goodness! What a trying time and I understand well, what you are saying. I am thankful you had the “saving grace” of love and kindness in that time. I will pray for you and your husband. Now rest and recover yourself. That time was no picnic and the toll must have been draining. love Michele

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I’m sorry to hear that things have been rough. Finding that inner reserve of strength and faith can make all the difference and it appears that you have that in spades. I will hold you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers. (I’m putting you in the “brave” column!)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. By sharing your personal experience, you are surely helping others who are facing their own challenges. Thank you for expressing your feelings and articulating the lessons you have learned during this difficult and frightening time. Best wishes and take good care.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Ann, I’m glad to hear your husband’s doing better now, but gee, I’m sorry you two had to go through that trial. Being the patient advocate is, in its own way, almost as hard as being the patient. How blessed you are to have been surrounded by the thoughts and prayers of friends and family, as well as caring medical staff. Here’s hoping things continue to improve … for both of you!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Oh, Ann. I’m so sorry to read that he had to go back. I hope recovery goes quickly. The last hospital episode for me involved a therapy dog. She, and her handler, visit the rooms and hang around for some petting and scratches behind the ears. Then, I got to do that for the dog. Lol. But, it was a true treat for me. Also, I fed off of emails from friends delivered to the room. Evidently, there was an email address at the hospital for this purpose. Probably lots of folks don’t realize they can do that. I kept each and every one of them so I can read them again on a rainy day in the future. Here’s to good health & healing. God’s grip…always, Alan

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think therapy dogs are so great, both in hospitals and in long-term care facilities. They have a unique way of connecting with patients and can offer a comfort that people can’t always provide. As for the emails, I love that idea! I think it originated with the pandemic, but I’m not sure. However it came about, it’s a great way for friends and families to let the patient know they are thinking about them. Thanks for your kind thoughts!

      Liked by 2 people

  20. I am so sorry to hear that you and your husband have been through so much in these recent weeks. I am praying for you both…You are so right about friends and family; they are our ‘earth angels’ as we travel the road of life. A kind word can mean so much when we go through hard times. God’s love is ever present when it comes to our beloveds…they shine a light of hope upon our path. And, when the path seems uncertain, that light is very comforting.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Ann, I am so sorry you & your husband have been facing such challenging times. You bring up such valuable points when someone is going through a difficult time. It is so important to just be there, to listen, to offer respite & support in whatever way you can, and of course love, lots & lots of love. Hoping the coming days are a wee bit smoother🤗💕

    Liked by 3 people

  22. I’m so sorry about your husband. Well, I’m glad the recent surgery went well but the recovery sounds tough. He better not have to go back in otherwise you’ll have a lot of work on your hands with the new decor & dragging the recliner in there 😉

    I can’t begin to imagine what either have you have been through of late, but I do get where you’re coming from with those difficult times and not processing things. For me, I think I kept that going for years with keeping busy and stressing and avoiding having to process the situation I’m in. Ignorance is bliss, but eventually it’ll crack.

    I’m glad there have been wonderful nurses in the hospital and that you’ve got friends and family by your side. How’s hubby getting on at the moment?

    I think you both need a break. Time to breathe, process, find some peace and a little joy to distract yourselves too. Sending hugs your way, Ann, and my very best wishes to hubby 💜💙💚💛

    Caz xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Caz! I know you’ve had far too much experience with hospital stays and know first-hand how difficult they can be. And sometimes it is difficult to find the time to process what we’ve gone through, which, as you point out, is not a good thing. Luckily, my husband is improving and being at home seems to help him enormously. And I’ll pass on your good wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Ann,
    I admire you for taking the time to express your gratitude to those who supported you during this difficult time. It is easy to forget this when things get better. So many people just move on. I am so happy to hear that the medical staff were so supportive of you while taking care of your husband. There are countless amazingly caring caregivers, nurses, and doctors. Thank you for highlighting their work. I am wondering if you have shared this post with them? I have no doubt it would make their day. Everyone’s heart is filled by appreciation from others.
    I hope your husband continues his healing journey.
    Take good care,
    Ali

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ali! I thought out mailing it to the floor, and trusting that the staff would see it. When I wrote a post about how much I appreciated the staff where I had my oral surgery, I simply took a copy of it with me to my next appointment and they did appreciate it a lot. Hospitals are harder, because you can’t ago in without an appointment (or be there to see a specific patient) these days, and you interact with so many staff. But I think your suggestion has encouraged me to try!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Ann, so sorry to read about your husband and am so glad to hear that he is finally home and on the path of recovery. Hospitals are not easy places. I thought it was just me. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went in for an eight hour surgery and told my sister that I couldn’t do it as I hate hospitals. She retorted with ” Do you really think ANYONE likes them? Unless one has a doctor fetish!” That got me on track pretty quickly haha.

    You are absolutely right on that the support from friends and family are so meaningful. Especially to the person providing the support. Well done! Best wishes to you all for good health and much happiness.

    Peta

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your sister was right! Hospitals aren’t where anyone wants to be, but sometimes they have to be. Personally, I hope not to be darkening the doorway of a hospital for quite some time, but there’s no guarantees. Thank you for your kind words and good wishes! They are very much appreciated!

      Like

  25. Aw man. I’m a little behind in blogging and reading my favs, but I’m happy to hear your husband is back home and recuperating nicely. I do hope you’re also able to rest a little bit…it’s important.

    And, of course, I agree with that last little bit. We never realize how much we need one another until we do. A little care does go a long way ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Yes. I am always thrilled when I get a “hey I was just thinking about you.” And I know how it makes me feel when things are fine . . . so I really respect the value when times are tough. I hope things settle for you now.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Oh, Ann… I am so sorry that you both are going through this tough time. I send healing energy and prayers that your husband will get better…and stronger every single day. I love your message to people to reach out to others who are going through something like this. I know too many people think they don’t want to be intrusive, but that little text…or call…or card…or cookies…THEY MEAN SOMETHING! I speak from experience and I remember the people who made sure they reached out. And when you go through something like that it changes you and it does make you very sensitive when others are going through something. Thanks for this post…and thanks for your caring heart. You made time to reach out to me when you are in the middle of your own struggle…and that means so much to me!! I will keep you both in my prayers and truly hope things are already much, much better ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • They really are appreciated and a huge help! So often we hesitate to reach out because we don’t know exactly what to do, but every single gesture of comfort and care makes a big difference!

      Like

  28. Just came across your posts. Love that they are both real and raw, revealing of humanity. Glad to see you’ve had some amazing support and praying for continued healing and peace with you and your husband’s struggles. While the hospital is a difficult place, I’m sure your presence by your husband’s side brought him much comfort!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Ann, I’m sorry to hear of your husband’s illness and hospitalization. Just know that us nurses truly appreciate your kind words of appreciation. They truly serve to re-fuel us as we push through exhaustion and the many challenges we often face in caring for our patients. Hope your husband continues to recover well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I think the first thing people realize when they or a loved one is hospitalized is just how important good nurses are. They are the ones coming in, checking on the patient, making sure they are getting the right medicines and noticing any problems/improvements. More importantly, they are the ones who offer information and reassurance that is so badly needed. I know nurses the world over are overwhelmed right now, and hope that better days are coming soon!

      Like

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