When I learned my oldest and dearest friend would need colorectal surgery following chemo and radiation, I assigned myself the responsibility for being his nurse during the first week back at home from the hospital. Having had lots of first-hand experience taking care of family following their surgeries, I knew something he didn't - you do need help and lots of it.
Being a private and independent person, I wasn't so sure he would want this intrusion, but he gratefully agreed.
I arrived with a pot of chicken soup. And, homemade apple sauce made from the finest honeycrisp apples. A bit of chocolate.
We spent our days quietly. When I wasn't preparing food, making tea, doing dishes or a few loads of laundry, we would pass the days:
The nursing station
Returning from the hospital, the first thing I did was set up a makeshift nursing station so I could perform my 'nursing' duties preparing various medications, the strongest being the opoids. A small light stayed on all night so when he rang a bell in the middle of the night, I felt secure he was getting the right pill and the right dose! And, a glass of water to take them. The paper and pencil for charting the time and dose.
In my professional life, I have worked many years with oncology pharmacists, managing the development and implementation of continuing medical education programs. I hold them in high regard for their deep body of knowledge, expertise and dedication to their work. For even more years, I have collaborated with nurses. Behind the nursing station (see photo), I could pretend I was part pharmacist and part nurse - professions, I deeply respect.
This is what I feel: No one should come home and be alone after surgery or after serious illness. Real healing comes from true rest. We need to recover our physical strength and endurance to do even the basic things like making tea or coffee, cooking or washing dishes. But something more - the comfort we get from being taken care of. Being cared for is a basic need. Feeling loved is at the heart of healing.
If you know someone who needs a bit of care, do it!
In health and happiness,
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.