Saturday, May 3, 2014

How to help a Family with a child in the hospital

My son was recently in the hospital for a crazy 8 days. It was hard. Made even harder by the fact I had 4 other kids who still really needed taking care of.

But always, always without a doubt my friends and family step up to the plate. And thats how Im blogging. I'm not blogging in a "oh you people dropped the ball and should have.." its a "you people did this and well....it helped. we survived. what you did mattered" type of way.



So
How to help a family with a child in the hospital.

1. Dont ask what they need.
We have no idea. We cant put two words together and still make sense,  there is no way we can come up with a list of what will be helpful. (except for now after the fact) We know we need help but we have no idea what will be helpful. And we have no idea what you really mean when you offer help. Did you mean watch kids? Did you just say it to be nice? Did you mean a meal? No idea....terribly awkward. We hate it.


2. Be Specific
Tell us what you want to do to help. Be specific and mean it. If you dont want to do something then dont ask or volunteer. We know when you mean it. Just like you know when we mean it when we offer. We truly dont want you over extending yourself and your family and your finances to help us. It makes us feel guilty and rotten and well....we already have 500 other feelings going through us right now....we cant handle more. only help in a way you can.

To me those are the 2 most important across the board things.  The rest well...they work for us and chances are if a friend of yours shared this then it might just work for them too.



3. Meals
Plan meals for the family left at home and then maybe a couple meals for the first couple days home. You dont know what they are facing. What type of medical stuff they are coming home with. Just because they are home doesn't mean its over....sometimes it means its just beginning. There are awesome sites out there like. www.bringthemameal.com that makes it easy to sign up for meals. But someone has to take the initiative to do this. Heavens knows we dont want to do this for ourselves.  And for all you facebook friends or family out of town. You can sign up too. Did you know that lots and lots of places deliver. All it takes is an address and a little research. Jasons Deli, Pizza, Chinese Food. There are lots of options.



4. The Other Kids
Offer to watch the other kids. And maybe not just offer to baby sit but offer to help the other kids feel special and loved. There is NOTHING in the world like the guilt of leaving kids behind to care for one child. There is NOTHING like the worry that your children wont understand and will  feel unloved. When someone loves you and your kids enough to spend time with them, watch them, take them somewhere special to eat there is NOTHING in the world that takes a little bit of that burden off your shoulders.  BTW just babysitting is great also, but taking it that extra level makes all the difference when it comes to our hearts.



5.The Home
Get someone to clean their home. No not you! Dont even think about it. We will rush around and stress and clean before you even come to clean and pretend like its still a total mess. We need a company or someone that cleans homes that we dont know to come in and clean. Our house falls apart when we are caring
for our child and then when we come home we have 500 other things to catch up on and cleaning isnt one of them.



6. The Car
Its expensive. period. Gas is insane. a gift card for gas wouldnt make us cry at all.



7. Our Tummy
pack a bunch of snacks for us. healthy snacks. unhealthy snacks when we need to emotionally eat. bottles of water, instant coffee, anything you can think of. sometimes we sit there not able to eat waiting for a doctor to do his rounds. because chances are we will leave to go grab a bite in the cafeteria and that dr will show up...its inevitable. so we stay...and well we get hungry.



8. A Visit
A visit goes a long way...but please please dont make it a long visit. We need to know we are thought of and we are cared about. Our child needs a distraction and we need to breathe a little. Come visit us. Dont be scared. Bring a small present from the dollar store or have your kids draw some cards, but come. Dont stay away out of fear of being a bother. Come see us. We need it more than we know.



9. A phone call, text or facebook message
Maybe you cant visit. Maybe your schedule is crazy or you cant handle life right now. (we get it)Or maybe you are out of town. Give us a call. dont forget about us. and dont let us feel forgotten. Dont let fear of interrupting stop you. If we cant answer we wont. If we cant respond, thats okay. Knowing you care and took the time it makes the difference. Feeling forgotten is way worse than feeling interrupted. And we might not ever respond. We might forget but please dont think that in that moment we didnt care. because we did.



10. The Mom
We have the weight of the world on us and we can be a mess. we might get our feelings hurt. we might snap. We might cry. We might laugh. We are a hot mess. Love us anyway. Sneak in some real food to the hospital. A salad or fruit. They charge $1 for one banana in the cafeteria!!!! I just cant do that!! We will tell you not to. We will tell you we dont need anything. Do it anyways. We will love you for it.




you thought i was gonna stop at 10 right??



11. The Dad
The all forgotten individual in this. The one driving back and forth 500xs to and from the hospital. Relieving mom from hospital duty, coming home and being fun dad, trying to keep the house in order so mom doesnt fall apart when she comes home. (never happens I swear) Hes forgotten. Everyone brings the mom stuff, prays for the mom, hugs the mom. Dont forget the daddy. He's trying to do it all. Grab  him a book, show up and tell him to go get a soda, bring him a soda, get a comedy dvd for him. Just dont forget the daddy.




So thank you. Thank you to those who care. who love. who try. for those who do this journey with us. who carry our burdens and who make them lighter. We need you. We couldnt do it without you.



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