Perhaps your hectic schedule prevents you from visiting your friend who is in the hospital recovering from surgery. Maybe your friend is restricted, doctor’s orders, from receiving guests. Maybe, just maybe, you don’t visit your friend in the hospital because every time you think about the visit your palms get clammy, your face feels flush, and your head spins with dread over setting foot in a hospital. But, the patient is a great friend, and she would do anything in the world for you if the situation was reversed and you were the one piled up in that recovery room. You feel that you need and really want to do something for her to show that you care. So what are your options?
Well, there are a few favors you can do for your friend while she is recovering that do not require that you visit the hospital. Actually, your friend may even appreciate you for doing one of the following favors more than she would appreciate a visit from you. (No offense, but sometimes good deeds are appreciated more than face-time.) Below are four favors that you can do for your friend that will certainly make her recovery much easier and absolutely keep you away from the hospital, all the while keeping you on top of her most valuable friends list.
1. Yard Work and Housework
There is no need to aerate your friend’s lawn or to polish your friend’s silver, but performing a few small chores at your friend’s house will be greatly appreciated. Do the dishes or take out the trash to prevent your friend from coming home to foul odors and bacteria critters. Put the mail on the kitchen table so it doesn’t pile up in the mailbox. Maybe even mow the lawn. Whether the task is as simple as sweeping off the front porch or as involved as doing the laundry, your friend will appreciate coming home to a clean(er) home, and her recovery will be easier because of your efforts.
2. Assist with Childcare or Pet Care
Your friend should be concentrating her energy on recovering after having surgery. But if she is like most parents, she will inevitable spend lots of brain-power stewing over the well-being of her children (human or canine or fowl or whatever) in her absence. Even if your friend has a spouse, parent, or babysitter already planning to assist with childcare, unexpected things always come up. Offer to pick up/drop off her children from school or after-school activities. If your friend has older children staying at home alone, offer to just “check-in” on them from time to time. If your friend’s children are technically pets, offer to go by the house to feed and water, walk, or rub the ears of these furry little kid critters.
3. Be a Contact for People Wanting Updates
You are not the only person concerned with your friend’s well-being. There will be co-workers, extended family, and neighbors who will want updates on your friend’s recovery. And they always call her house and get the answering machine or call the hospital and disturb your friend’s rest. Offer to take these calls yourself on your phone and give people updates so that your friend does not have to repeat the story of how her surgery went and how her recovery is going 50 times a day. You do it instead.
4. Check on the House Periodically
We would like to think that no one would vandalize your friend’s house or steal from her while no one is home. But, you never know. Plus, an empty-looking (lights that do not change, cars that do not move) house is a target for trouble. Tell your friend that you will go by her house once a day, just to check on things. Maybe you could even get a spare key from her and offer to go in and change which lights are turned on. Knowing that you are checking on the house will give your friend much-needed peace of mind.
Keep two things in mind when offering to do a favor for your recovering friend.
Number one : Don’t offer and commit to do something that you cannot or will not do. The last thing your friend needs right now is a phone call from you telling her that you cannot pick up her kid from soccer practice because you have scheduled too many things to do and now can’t honor your commitment.
Number two : Don’t ask your friend what you can do for her or would she like for you to do such-in-such. Just tell her that you are going to do it. If you ask her what you can do to help, chances are she will not want to burden you and will simply not tell you what she needs you to do. Try saying a few days before the surgery, “I know that you will be staying at the hospital for a few days recovering from your surgery so here’s what I’m thinking. I will pick up Timmy from school everyday and take him over to your Mom’s house. Is that OK with you or is there something else that you would rather me do for you?” If you say it like this, she is more likely to smile and say, “YES! Thank you!”
Any of these four favors can help to eliminate some of those “pre-surgery” jitters that often accompany surgery. Knowing that some of the everyday chores are getting done can simply take loads off the mind of any patient. These favors will also help you convey your care and concern when visits to the hospital are not possible.
Ruth Stafford Peale said it the best ~ Find a need and fill it.
Mary Edison has been helping people prepare for surgery for more than 30 years. From her own perspective, and through family, friends and colleagues, she has learned all about the ins-and-outs of our notorious health care system. She is now dedicating herself to helping others navigate our modern day “medical” Serengeti. As a graduate from “the hospital school of hard knocks” , Mary now offers ideas and tips on how to better prepare for surgery, reduce pre-and-post opt stresses and discover ways to recover quicker. She has recently compiled a free guide to help you get started ~ to help you be prepared. You can now download “Your Guide to Less Stressful Surgery” for yourself, for a friend or for a loved one.