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.