Things friends can to to help the waiting...
I've been thinking of my days in NICU waiting...and thought of a few things that friends did for us that really helped.
While we were in NICU many friends came to visit. Most felt helpless in not knowing what to do for us. Their support was plenty for me, but there were some things that people did for us that I didn't even realize I would need. Gift baskets were brought with ingenious donations of telephone cards, containers of quarters, mouthwash, nice soaps, shower bag, fruit, paid parking, a night's stay at a hotel just across from the hospital (we live an hour away, I wouldn't leave), people brought meals for us at different times...YUM...(hospital food gets really tiring), instant tea, notebooks for taking notes. People also acted as a laundry service...picking up clothes for me, etc.
THIS IS VERY important. I still have a notebook that I used strictly for taking notes when the doctors told me things about Kenny's condition, etc. Otherwise, I would never remember what was said to relay to other family members. This can be used as a diary later, and will help the patient in later times realize what happened to them. When a large family is involved it gets tiring repeating it too...so they just read my notebook when they could. I also wrote down all the pertinent phone numbers of people who would need to be called when changes in condition occur. There are alot of people who want this information and not everyone can be called. So a TREMENDOUS help were our "designated" phone helpers. There was a good friend of my husband's who works at the plant where my husband was employed...he would call us, we would give the news everyday, he would then send it to his distribution list on e-mail...saved alot of work. I had someone at my work who volunteered to do the same thing. Another notebook that is handy if you have a lot of visitors, is a sign-in. We wanted Kenny to know who came to see him. I kept a basket handy also for all the cards...still have it. Look through it occassionally for a lift.
We also had volunteers who mowed our yard and kept it beautiful while we were away.
One more thing that is VERY important for those who wish to help... Yes your friends need you during this crucial time. But the road ahead is a long one. They will need you even more as others fade away, thinking the crisis is over. Rides to therapy or doctor visits, a day out AWAY from home, visits from friends just because, invitations to dinner...NO, we're not too busy to eat with friends, etc... Don't forget them or think you are intruding. Please... We need our friends now, sometimes more than we needed them then.
Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
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