Comments on: Supporting Friends with Children in the Hospital http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/ The Intersection of Design & Motherhood Tue, 03 Jun 2014 05:24:56 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 By: Monica http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-777953 Monica Tue, 12 Nov 2013 15:38:36 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-777953 I take my daughter a couple times a year for scoliosis surgery. We have averaged about 8 hours per surgery due to her NF they have to be extra careful. We generally spend a week in hospital, which compared to what some deal with is a walk in the park. But due to our distance from home and a younger child I spend that week alone with a hurting child usually starving and broke. We are a single income family and the expense of hospital is something that just doesn’t fit well. Probably the best help we’ve gotten is babysitting for the younger child. So that my husband can continue to go to work. Family and friends step in as if it were part of their regular routine and give us the peace of mind it takes for him to continue to work and me to just focus on my daughter’s recovery. Also when people do visit, they are kind enough to sit with her so I can shower, or go for a walk or just not have to be there for a few minutes. The biggest godsend is other parents in the hospital, they are very understanding and easy to be friends with in the time that we spend there. I’ve met many parents on unit with my daughter most with similar issues and so they just get it. They know when taking about it is good and when we should just talk about the weather. As a side note. Parking is one of the biggest expenses, in our case we have people drive us there and drop us off then my husband comes back to pick us up when we are discharged.

]]>
By: J http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-558401 J Tue, 06 Aug 2013 20:21:54 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-558401 Being a mother of a child who was treated for cancer – is a life changer. I would like to add that an important way to support friends or family is to be there once treatment stops. Thankfully, our son is thriving, he has returned to doing the activities he loves and feels well. However, no part of this journey is easy and once treatment ended, it was (is) one of the most surprisingly difficult periods in my life. The fact that cancer touched his young life, will always be a part of who he is – and who I am as his loving mother.

]]>
By: Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-544809 Design Mom Sat, 27 Jul 2013 22:56:30 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-544809 I’m so pleased about this series, Amy. Thank you!

]]>
By: Happy Friday! http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-542952 Happy Friday! Fri, 26 Jul 2013 21:49:54 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-542952 [...] Supporting friends with children in the hospital [...]

]]>
By: Chelsie http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-541346 Chelsie Fri, 26 Jul 2013 01:40:31 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-541346 Another great article about what to say to someone: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407,0,2074046.story

]]>
By: Anne http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-540117 Anne Wed, 24 Jul 2013 22:26:32 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-540117 Here is another article that has some tips for working with kids in the hospital. http://www.babble.com/toddler/9-tips-for-surviving-your-toddlers-hospital-stay/

It’s always rough, but friends can help you pull through!

]]>
By: Emily http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-539734 Emily Wed, 24 Jul 2013 18:13:50 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-539734 So many thoughtful ideas are listed here – any family would be lucky to receive these gifts from friends, and I have just one more to add: Have any family facing cancer (whether in a child or an adult) contact Imerman Angels at http://www.imermanangels.org. Their mission is that within 24 hours of contacting them, they will use their extensive network to provide a one-one-one mentor “angel” for both the patient and their family members who have gone through the same experience (i.e. , same age during treatment, same gender, same type of cancer) and come out the other side. These Angels can be a tremendous source of hope and practical advice to complement all the wonderful gifts from family and friends.

]]>
By: Tracy Davis http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-538845 Tracy Davis Wed, 24 Jul 2013 04:45:42 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-538845 I love the suggestion to offer to be a spokesperson. Yes! This is so helpful to field unwanted questions and avoid having to retell bad news over and over.

]]>
By: clyde http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-538458 clyde Tue, 23 Jul 2013 17:32:19 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-538458 My nephew and sister in-law’s son Mark was diagnosed with leukemia a few months back – the same type as you mentioned in your post. As you will know first-hand, the news is devastating in the beginning. As Mark went into treatment and was stabilized, it is still a touchy matter for our whole family to think about a little three year old going through such a hideous illness. Anyways, a few years ago, for a year long period time, two of our aunts were diagnosed with breast cancer. Both of them went through the treatments, surgery, and the heartache that the whole situation brought to their families and extended relatives. For a while, we just offered kind words, phone calls, and as much assistance we could offer from a distance. But then it was time to do something more tangible. After some more phone calls and a lot of prayers, the answer was care packages. E-mails were sent out, inviting everyone in the family to participate, and a schedule was set. So, every weekend, these two aunts received a box with all sorts of goodies that were homemade, handmade, or bought. Everything was game (of course, each care package was thoughtfully and carefully prepared to go with their health stages, like if they were at home or the hospital, could not smell certain things, and the likes). Back to Mark – our family decided to go the same route with him. Months in advance, he gets these care packages from our family. Many of us include things for his 10 and 7 year old sisters. They are delighted to see that their little brother’s illness didn’t put them on the side by also receiving little trinkets and treats. About the parents: sending cards, board games, CDs for them too – stuff that can put their brains off the situation for a little while – can be one of the best things to do. Sometimes, just phone calls aren’t enough… So we sent little gifts of kindness that they can actually open and have a delightful surprise that can help take off some of their burden while the treatments go on for months or even years to come. A side note; money never fails (any amount). If you don’t know what they specifically want or need, this always works.

I hope this helps in a little way to people who are dealing with a similar situation. Thanks to all your readers for their comments and suggestions, and thank you for asking us to share our personal thoughts/experiences. Feels great to share.

]]>
By: Holly Johnson http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-538303 Holly Johnson Tue, 23 Jul 2013 13:59:13 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-538303 This is a wonderful post, thank you. My brother had childhood leukemia when I was 5 and it was a terrible stress on our family. I think now about what can be done for the siblings who are often so distraught but without the words or sophistication to verbalize their feelings. I think as friends to the family, we can offer the children diversions and routine—playdates, small outings close to home, and lots of attention. Siblings often try to be extra well behaved and mature during these times as to not additionally tax their parents or make the home even less stable. But in fact, they need to be free to be kids, to cry, to have tantrums and act just as they always have, and sometimes some encouragement to do so is helpful. I remember not wanting to leave the house for any reason, like I by being home I was somehow keeping things safe. I think these signals are very important to watch for and respond to, although it is so challenging when the parents are needed at the hospital and consumed with their own grief.

One bright point is that siblings can come through a situation like this even stronger and more prepared for the challenges of life if they are given lots of love and support through the hard times.

I just feel so much for the families with sick young ones, and my heart goes out to you. Remember that love is what will hold you together and nurture your soul the most.

]]>
By: Rochelle http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-538247 Rochelle Tue, 23 Jul 2013 13:09:00 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-538247 A friend of mine went through this about 6 years ago (and all is well with their little girl since, Yeah!) — but at the time we (a group of friends) banded together to raise money — we held a garage sale and a few other little things to give them cash for the parking at the hospital (and anything else they needed). It may sound small, but $8/ day over 6 months of parking adds up (as do other little expenses that we did our best to try and help with). After it was all over and they were back on their feet, my friend started a charity — called Small Blessings (http://smallblessings.net/) to pay it forward with the same kind of help to other local (Boston based) families.

]]>
By: Kristen http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-538239 Kristen Tue, 23 Jul 2013 12:49:29 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-538239 Hello, great post and great comments with some excellent ideas. I am a pediatric nurse, and I would just caution any gift-givers to check with the family before giving a child in the hospital any food items. Hospitalized children are often given many food restrictions, and bringing around ‘forbidden’ items could cause them some heartache! Also, no fresh flowers if the child is immunocompromised.

LOVE the idea of pictures from home and maybe a (non-stuffed animal, non-porous, able to be wiped down with a bleach wipe) favorite toy from home.

]]>
By: Annie Groover http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-538091 Annie Groover Tue, 23 Jul 2013 10:54:59 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-538091 Our youngest daughter was in the hospital for almost 2 months. At the time, we were homeschooling the eldest two. We had an unbelievable outpouring of support. Another homeschool family took our kids and included them in their school so they didn’t fall behind (in SC you have to log 180 days of school), other friends brought meals (even people we didn’t know from our church!), my best friend came over and would clean our house and took our laundry home to wash and fold. My sister-in-law kept my big 3 girls for several weeks and cared for them on top of her own 3 kids! I could go on and on, but it really was an amazing time. And while I would never wish a sick child on anyone, and would not wish to go through those scary times again, I think we are richer for having the experience.

]]>
By: April http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-537452 April Tue, 23 Jul 2013 01:48:57 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-537452 Laundry! As an adult trauma nurse, I can say that laundry is a big deal to families stuck in the hospital. Bring them clean laundry, take the dirty laundry, do the laundry at their house. Pictures. Pictures of friends, pictures of the patient, pictures of favorite places. As a trauma nurse my patients can look drastically different from ‘normal’ life. I love seeing pictures of them from ‘real’ life. It reminds me that they are mothers, daughters and friends, not just patients. Patients love having a touchstone of where they were and where they are going. And we love, love hearing thank you! We work hard, very hard. We don’t get paid a lot. And boy, it is an emotionally tough job. A thank you makes it all worth every second. Oh, the tears of joy when we see a patient return, better, healthy and smiling. I really can’t describe that feeling.

]]>
By: Tracy Davis http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-537447 Tracy Davis Tue, 23 Jul 2013 01:43:00 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-537447 I love the idea of the roll of quarters, and wholeheartedly echo the sentiment of being grateful to have someone to be “normal” with. It helps to be able to forget about the pain for a while, and focus on something else for a break.

My infant son was in the NICU, and then at home with hospice care for 51 days before he died, and I’ve reflected on all the love and support that we received during that time and after.

Here is a post I wrote about some of the things I found helpful.:
http://thepodgefiles.blogspot.com/2012/01/what-to-say-when-you-dont-know-what-to.html

]]>
By: Kalli http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-537415 Kalli Tue, 23 Jul 2013 01:06:37 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-537415 Amy this is such a good and timely post! I just dropped off dinner for a family in our neighborhood, the wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor while pregnant. They delivered her son 5 weeks early, removed and tested the tumor immediately after to find out it was malignant but extremely slow moving. She started chemotherapy and radiation last week, 3 weeks postpartum. They have two young daughters about the same age as my boys. Talking to her parents she said that the older girls were in desperate need of interaction and playmates after being stuck at home and rather shuttled aside with everything that’s going on. Gift cards, gas cards, attention to other kids, prayers, thoughtful notes-all so important!

]]>
By: patsy http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-537330 patsy Mon, 22 Jul 2013 23:47:10 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-537330 This is a wonderful & touching post. I wanted to add something. I am the mother of a daughter with mental illness (severe depression- which induced psychosis & and then an eating disorder.) It is terribly painful (of course) yet somehow people get nervous & tend to do nothing or say nothing to those suffering from “mental” illnesses or their families.

Just a friendly reminder- mental illness is still – illness. Don’t get me wrong- SO MANY people have been overwhelmingly thoughtful to our family & I love them & I am grateful. I just want to remind all those readers out there that it is okay to ask – okay to offer help & okay to acknowledge mental illness. It’s awkward to talk about, true. But parents of children suffering with these types of illnesses can sometimes feel alone or worse – judged.

Again- thank you for writing this! While my daughter was in the Neuropsychiatric adolescent ward- my best friend’s son was just a couple blocks away at a different hospital being treated for cancer. We had the opportunity to visit each other & be there for each other. I wish neither of us had to go through this- but what a blessing to have support in difficult times. Her son was trying to keep his life, while my daughter was trying to take hers. It was a humbling time & one I hope to never relive.

My most favorite thing, is to be told, ” We are praying for you.”
That simple statement from friends & strangers keeps me going day after day.

]]>
By: Leah http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-537140 Leah Mon, 22 Jul 2013 20:13:58 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-537140 What a beautiful post. While I feel incredibly fortunate to not have experienced any health issues with my children, my father passed away a few months ago from a brain tumor. It was a quite a long spiral down (with many years of ill-health preceding this), and without our friends and family we would have been lost. While I realize this is about children, one of the most helpful things applies to sick children and adults alike: My mother and/or I were nearly always with my dad, but it was incredibly helpful to have trustworthy, attentive, loving people to stay with him while we took care of normal-life things. So, my suggestion is to offer to stay with the child so the parent can briefly tend to other things in life—grocery shopping, etc. The parent’s mind will be a little more at ease and the child will have good company.

One other idea is to offer to be the spokesperson for the family. Though well-meaning, people often ask lots and lots of questions and it is tiresome to keep repeating the same (sad) story. With a spokesperson, you only have to tell the story once and the spokesperson communicates it to (and fields questions from) everyone else.

One more thing: it is a small difference, but try to not ask “How are you?” If someone is very sick (and in my father’s case, dying) there is no good answer. It is difficult because in our American culture “Hi, How are you?” is such a standard greeting. Instead, might I suggest “Hi! It is so good to see you.” This conveys the same level of concern you have for the patient without burdening them with providing a sad answer (e.g. “not good”).

My last suggestion is to echo the need for visitors. This is so helpful to both the patient and caregiver.

Sorry for such a long comment! Wishing all families dealing with illness a speedy, peaceful recovery.

]]>
By: Anna http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-537094 Anna Mon, 22 Jul 2013 18:51:41 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-537094 These are all great ideas. I would also add, don’t be afraid just to give them plain old money. Before having a serious illness in my own family, I was hesitant to do this for friends going through illnesses, fearing it might offend. But now I can say, trust me, it won’t! Whether for medical co-pays, train/plane tickets to visit out-of-town doctors, babysitters to cover appointments, an outrageously overpriced hamburger in the hospital cafeteria. . . if somebody’s sick, you can pretty much bet the family can use a little extra cash.

]]>
By: Sarah http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/supporting-friends-with-children-in-the-hospital/comment-page-1/#comment-537082 Sarah Mon, 22 Jul 2013 18:21:20 +0000 http://www.designmom.com/?p=38900#comment-537082 A wonderful post, Amy. When my brother was sick, I was often reminded that happiness is a choice that requires effort at times. Thanks to the many friends and family who where always there with a simple smile, I too, realized I could still be happy in a trying time.

]]>