How do you support the patient?
ARE YOU A FRIEND? SIBLING? FAMILY? SPOUSE?
The Importance of Self Awareness as a Patient
- As a child or someone in a marriage, being ill at home has a profound impact on your life and that of your spouse,family, siblings, and friends.
- You need to understand that you are not the only one effected by an illness, but also those around you.
- To ensure your own well-being, it is vital that those who are closest to you and who care for you remind you of who you were before any illness began.
Keep in Mind
This is not about you. Your loved one is the focus. You cannot make decisions based on what you would prefer if you were ill. It should be based on what they want. Keep in mind that they may not articulate what they need. Therefore, do everything you can to be impartial when you help them, and think of them in their best light.
Know Your Audience
Do they need a distraction? There are many distractions. For example, I never believed that I would enjoy the toys I played with as a child until I was sitting in a chair with a tube in my arm for hours, back playing with a simple Rubik’s cube. It was the most enjoyable distraction I ever had. Discuss back to school, vacations, careers, and hopes for their futures. If they find this comforting, let them create a plan to start with small goals and accomplish bigger ones as they grow.
Do they need to talk it out? If this is the case; Frequently, a person may want to talk with you about every step of their treatment. This can bring them some hope. On the other hand, if they have experienced many therapies, they may be overwhelmed with information about the treatment. The best advice is to just be there, listen, and comfort. Others may want you to keep them up to date on town gossip or ask you about your common pastimes – for example, music or tv shows, books, etc.
FAMILY & FRIENDS
- Everything you can do to make them feel at home and supported. You can only do a limited amount. There is no doubt that they are very simple tasks, but they can make a huge difference for someone who is suffering from an illness.
- Providing rides and playdates for their children is something you can do. Cleaning or gifting them with a cleaning service. Helping with their laundry is not fun, but very helpful. Assist them with their dishes I know, again not fun, but very helpful.
SPOUSE & SIBLINGS
As a couple, you might not always be up to outings once a week, but you can still make an effort to create a date night at home. Keep the romance alive and stay close by making accommodations.
If you used to enjoy going for ice cream on weekends with your siblings, but now due to your particular diet, you can’t eat ice cream. Change the food or activity you do with your siblings.
I used to take life for granted. However, after being ill and seeing how quickly it can be taken away I realized how precious life really was. There is nothing that I appreciate more than eating, breathing, talking, and walking whenever I want.