Saturday, October 4, 2014

People Who Have Long-term Illness or Pain and How You Can Support Them

It's really hard having a long term illness. I think the hardest part for me is how forgotten I feel. People move on with their lives even when you can't. They get sick of dealing with the constant reminder that we have this new intruder into our lives. They want normalcy, and I can't blame them...I do, too! No one really wants to hear the latest detail of what you're going through but they don't realize that this is really all I have to talk about. It consumes my mind and my time. 

I'm home-bound so what I talk about is what I do at home, which isn't a lot, let me tell you! Some days, I feel so bad I sit and read or just watch old television shows and my British shows. This does not make for exciting conversation. Even on the days I crochet or work on my Bible study, there's only so much one can say about these things. 

There are a lot of people, like me, out there. There are many ways that will help us and many things that will destroy us emotionally. Our emotional feelings are really important because it affects our healing. When I'm hurt, I really see a difference in my pain levels and my healing. Fortunately, I only will have one or two bad days where I'm down, but there are others that get so sad, their depression will last longer.

I wanted to share some things that will help those of us who are ill, in pain, or recovering from a health issue.

  • Pray for your friend and let her know you're praying for her. This is such a comfort to know that I'm being prayed for. I have friends who pray diligently for me, as well as family, and this blesses me so much!
  • Try and stay in touch with someone who is going through a long term illness. When the illness first happens, we get a lot of attention, but as time goes on, there are less and less people who keep in touch. An email, a text message, a card, or a phone call can do a lot to lift our spirits and help us to remember we're not forgotten. I have a friend who diligently sends me text messages and, right now, she has been sending me a Scripture a day with my name inserted to make it personal. I wake up to these messages and they set my day on the right course.
  • If you ask the sick person if you can come visit, please follow through and show up on the day designated! It takes a lot of effort on our part to get ready for company. Our families go to a lot of work to prepare for company, too, and when they don't show up, there's the guilt for the sick one of how much the family did for nothing. If you can't make the visit, please let the person know! I have had this happen several times and it's devastating to think that I didn't even warrant a phone call or a text from the person to let me know they weren't coming. This is very hurtful and, quite frankly, rude!
  •  When our illness first happens, people offer to do things for us. Food arrives, help around the house, etc., is done. Now, I'm not saying this should be a consistent thing because we do get better and can do a lot of these things, but there are other days when a casserole or soup arriving would be a huge blessing! Having something the person can put in the freezer and just stick in the oven is a relief on those days when cooking seems overwhelming. Even a freezer meal from the big box stores would totally bless the sick person. 
  • If there are specific sermons at church that you know would bless the person, get the CD for them or tell them where to check it out on line. If there's something special going on at church and you know that the sick person would love to have the handouts or the CD's, try and get these to them. It lets the person know you were thinking of them and it will encourage them and make them feel a part of the church when they aren't there.
  • Don't get angry or upset if the sick person doesn't always answer the phone. I know I fall asleep at the drop of a hat and I have gotten in the habit of turning my phone off when I lie down so I can get some sleep. It's not that I don't want to talk, I'm just not going to sacrifice my rest to have my phone on. I do call back and, if I'm not feeling good enough to talk, I send a text or an email letting them know I'll call them back soon. 
  •  When you talk to the sick person, don't go over all your illnesses and the gory details! Talk about things you would talk about with anyone. Keep things meaningful, yet light. Don't make fun of their illness or make what you think are funny remarks about their situation. This only hurts and make the person feel less valued. 
  • Don't feel upset or hurt if the person isn't up for an in-person visit. It takes so much effort to prepare for a visit and some days we just don't have the energy to do it. Or, I'm feeling sicker on some days and can't have company. Also, if you do visit the sick person, don't stay for hours on end. Believe it or not, this can wear a person out quickly. Keep your visit to about 1/2 hour to an hour. This is a perfect time for visiting but not wearing the sick person out.
I hope this helps. I think so many times we don't understand how very isolated the sick person or the person who is house-bound feels. It really is like the parade is passing us by and we would join in if we could. It's hard to see others going on with their lives and we can't. Being isolated from our friends and church is very difficult but these are a few things you can do to make it easier to bear.

Blessings - Julie

1 comment:

  1. God bless you Julie. I know exactly what all this means unfortunately. I am glad that you have friends who visit. I have one long term, close girl friend, and she lives far away now. I am praying for you!


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