If you are reading this, I want to say thank you. Why?
Because you are needed so much, which a simple book cannot fully explain. The challenges that others suddenly face inside the hospital can easily be compounded by the challenges they had to leave outside. It’s obvious that you care deeply about someone, that you wish to make their life easier as they go through the struggles that they never expected would happen to them. For this, I commend you. Sadly, many face these battles on their own. The person you love is truly lucky to have you and I am honoured to be able to share my thoughts and suggestions with you.
This book is for the friends and relatives who perhaps are unsure how they can make a difference or are uncertain what to say should some bad news fall upon their loved one. Please keep in mind that everyone is different, and many have situations that are unique, so this is more like the intro guide, but I’m sure after reading it you will be ready to go pro.
So, let’s get started, here’s number 1
1/ Be There and Be Strong
It can happen to the best of us, that punch in the face from life
Some see it coming, others don’t see it at all. A nightmare you wish you could just wake up from and feel normal once again. Now, normal is suddenly about to change. Bad news is never welcomed, it’s never wanted and yet, as we all know, can never be avoided.
That is why, when the bad news comes, don’t offer anything resembling what you think could pass as good news, don’t say anything at all… just be there. When the bad news comes, what your loved one could really use is strength, strength in knowing they are not alone, that they have you in their corner and that you are going to be there and are willing to go through this together.
2/ Look After the Routine
If your loved one has a home, they have a routine. Bills to be paid, other kids to care for, bins to take out, lawns to mow, pets to feed, etc., etc.
All these little things add up to large worries for your loved one in hospital. Organise others to give the house a good clean. This will give them one less thing to worry about. Keep them updated with pics of their kids, their pets, new flowers on the table. These are the little things that make a big difference. This is the first and biggest worry that many have in hospital.
3/ Bring Home to the Hospital
No one wants to stay in hospital, I mean who can blame them – the room, the bed, the noise, the food and that god-awful smell of antiseptic.
This is why bringing a little bit of home to the hospital makes a crap situation… well… a little less crap. Their favourite pillow, a blanket, their robe, that toy or console… it all adds up. These little things make it a little more bearable and a little more comfortable. But before you start putting up the wedding pictures on the hospital room wall, realise that nothing compares to their home. Until they get to return there, the best you can offer them is some favourite things that remind them of it.
4/ Don’t ask – tell.
There is so much going through your loved one’s mind that the simpler the questions you can ask, the easier it is for them.
There is a big difference between asking when you can come to visit and telling them you will be there tomorrow evening at 6pm. A big difference between asking what they want to eat for dinner compared to asking what their favourite toppings are for the pizza you are bringing them.
The point here, is that it is such a relief for many who are burdened and battling to not have to think about these extra things
Just note. Some days will be very hard, and visits are probably best left for another day. So, when loved ones say they prefer to rest, don’t take it personally, it simply means they need time to rest and get ready to fight another day with your help.
5/ Motion changes emotion
I’m taking this straight from the man Tony Robbins himself, because it’s so true
Anthony Adkins is known to dance with his patients whenever he meets them for a consultation.
This action earned him the title of the “dancing doc” and the videos have captured the smiles of his patients and the hearts of so many around the world. Music has the ability to do that to us. So, get up, go for that walk, throw on some Marvin Gaye and if your loved one can’t get up then they better see you move in a way that gets them smiling. Move it!
6/ Bring the Positivity
If ever there was a reason for you to suddenly shift your mindset it will be because your loved one is in hospital.
Suffering in any form is terrible, but on the flip side it has a unique way of showing us what is truly important in our lives. That is why, when you walk through the entrance doors of the hospital, I suggest you leave behind anything negative – any thoughts of conspiracy, political views, ongoing arguments with others, how terrible the parking at the hospital is or the traffic on the way.
Your job is to bring positivity into their room and display a smile with the objective of obtaining the same from your loved one.
Tip for you.
You don’t need to be physically present to make this happen. A simple text of “I’m thinking of you” or “just want you to know I love you and that I think you’re an inspiration” all play a role in maintaining a positive disposition.
7/ Make Every Moment Count
Hospital life seems to have its own laws of relativity when it comes to waiting and passing time.
During normal life the snooze button seems to pass by in a flash whereas 20 minutes in hospital feels like an hour. Counteract this with expressive and meaningful tasks and moments. You remember those old videos and photos from that family trip dug deep in your phone memory? Share them and relive them.
That silly dance only you can do, which makes them smile, as well as the nursing staff – pour it on.
Those colouring pens that your child suddenly sees and feels the need to draw all over your face making them laugh hysterically… let it happen.
The results of laughing, smiling and hugs are more important than whatever method you use to get them. Time will pass by as it wishes, so make every moment count.
8/ Tag Team
In a wrestling match if your teammate was finding it hard to keep up the fight, you would reach your hand out so they could tag it for you to jump in with fresh vigour and enthusiasm, ready to tackle the enemy and pin them to the mat.
When there is a carer looking after their loved one in hospital, offer to give them a break even if it just means allowing them to grab a coffee, or a shower or just get some fresh air by themselves. You have a job to do now which is to continue the fight. Tidy up, play the guitar, sing a song, read a book, put on the puppet socks, and get on with the kisses and cuddles.
When you’re tagged, it’s up to you.
9/ Show kindness to everyone
If your loved one is sharing a room with someone else and you notice they could use a pick me up – an extra meal left, a little gift or even an extra cup of coffee means so much.
Just because your focus is on your loved one doesn’t mean there isn’t some room for a nice gesture. No one understands more about the challenges of hospital, than your fellow patient.
10/ Be Forever Grateful
I ask you to please continue the lessons shared in this little book. Never stop showing how much you care.
Hospitals have a way of correcting our life compass and showing us how precious and fragile we all are. In a recent Harvard study where they followed the lives of many students over the years, the data showed that the real indication of a high-quality life was in direct proportion to the high quality of relationships individuals have. We come into this world alone and we will leave it alone. During the time we have, let’s spend it being close to those who matter.
If this article didn’t make you want to hug that special someone then I’ve got nothing left for you lol
I wish you all the best.