It is hard to watch someone you love fall victim to a major illness, it turns their world upside down, as well as yours. It takes a lot to recover from the physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. You may feel like you are not doing enough or are not making a positive impact on the person who is going through the recovery phase. Here are some things that you can do to help a person during recovery or even a terminally ill loved one… and believe me, just being there is enough.
I speak of personal experience on this subject. The year 2012 I had acute liver failure due to a rare genetic liver disease (Wilson’s Disease). I witnessed the crossover itself as the Doctors said I had 24-48 hours to live. I know what it is like to almost lose your life and go through all the emotions while fighting to become strong again. No matter how the person becomes ill or the outcome, how to help that person doesn’t change.
The first and most important thing you can do to help out is to simply be there. Your presence, your love, your shoulder to cry on, your encouraging words, and ‘non medical’ conversations are the supporting ways that are touching to someone in need. When a patient has been in the hospital for a while, it feels as though they have incorporated a new language(medical terminology) It is tiring to learn a new language for anyone, and even more so when you have been through a traumatic experience. To have a familiar face of someone you love, talk in the normal every day dialect is refreshing and comforting.
If you feel that you want to do more, there are some other things that can make life a bit easier for a healing person.
- Preparing food for lunch and dinners. Breakfast is pretty easy to manage, unless you would like to help with all three meal times. This thoughtful act is very helpful. It is one less thing to worry about and to put energy toward. An ill person needs their strength and energy to heal their body, and lets face it, they want to rest because recovering is tiring.
- Help to record and administer medicine… When I left the hospital I had two bags full of prescription drugs. I couldn’t have kept up with scheduling certain times drugs had to be taken all on my own. It is difficult to think straight while being on hard prescription drugs and being incredibly tired. Having someone take care of that for me was a life saver!
- Organize the large amount of paper work that will accumulate quickly. If you want to help out with administrative tasks that would be appreciated for everyone involved. It’s no surprise that when anyone has stayed in the hospital and has had many procedures done that paperwork would take over the house. Getting it situated and organized in binders or file cabinets right away will save everyone a headache later when you need certain papers to clarify any issues in the future.
- Help pay bills and check with the insurance company with any denials. If the patient has great insurance good for them, but that still doesn’t mean problems wont arise. If your loved one has given you permission to their finances, then work out a budget plan not only with them but with the medical faculty. Insurance can and will be a hassle from time to time, so taking care of the calls will help keep the stress levels down for the person you are caring for. Personally, for me, having someone else take over the payments and calls relieved me from extra stress. I felt very guilty because I was responsible for financially ruining my family. It was hard to breathe after seeing the first bill arrive in the mail. After that sticker shock of seeing my first bill, I asked to stay out of the financial side of things.
- The last helpful idea would be to set up a fundraiser to help pay the medical debt down. You can plan a fundraising event or even set one up through the internet. I actually felt so guilty with the cost of all my medical problems that I created my own fundraiser online, using Indiegogo.com, which helped pay a big chunk of my medical bill. Thanks to those who were generous and donated : )
Remember,whatever the relationship you have with a person going through a medical problem, all they want is your company, everything else falls second.
Good Luck and stay positive