Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Helping Out

We have been so blessed with friends both near and far helping us out the last six months, especially all of the time we were in the hospital with the little one. I know until being on bed rest and being with our baby who has been hospitalized 20 days this year on four separate occasions, I never really knew what would be helpful for those with kids hospitalized (or who are hospitalized themselves) and for those on bed rest.

Several people have offered to help, but were unsure what to do. I know there are people out there who have spent much more times in hospitals than us, but I know from our experience what we needed and what helped most.

I just wanted to share some of the most helpful things others have done for us to help inspire those with friends/family in need with ideas of ways to help. All I can say is we sure have some creative friends and family.

On bedrest:

Two friends from across the country made a care package complete with snacks, chocolate, a good book, a fun movie and a crossword puzzle book. Not only was it a surprise, but it kept me busy for hours.

We got a gift card for a grocery store nearby so my husband could buy already made dinners from their dinner bar and bring them home on the way home from work. This was extremely helpful since I was not supposed to spend more than 5 minutes standing and it was difficult to make dinner sitting down or in 5 minutes.

My mom and sister-in-law sent me a box of crafts, which I love to do and a lot of books. It helped encourage me to spend the time resting I needed to and helped me not be so bored.

During hospitalizations:

Both of our parents flew up and spent time helping out with our older son.

Several new friends offered to help with everything from buying groceries to watching our older son to doing our laundry.

Two different families watched our older son including giving him baths, washing his clothes and feeding him.

One sent dinner to the hospital so we didn't have to eat cafeteria food or fast food again.

One of our friends called us the night we came home from one of our hospital stays and said she was bringing over dinner that evening. While I wouldn't have asked her to do it, it was so appreciated.

A friend a few hours away sent us dinner in a box. How could you get more creative?!?!? She sent it complete with cookies and found a dinner that needed minimal preparation.

We got many phone calls, emails and our son was added to many prayer lists. The support from near and far gave us the strength to keep doing what we needed to do for our son and the continued prayers have been imperative.

While spending days in the hospital with a little person who can't talk, I thought of a few things I would do when someone I know finds themselves in this situation.

If I am nearby, bring up toiletries, a change of clothes, or anything else.

Offer to sit with the person who is hospitalized so the caretaker can take a short break. Days inside one building is not healthy for anyone.

If I am far away, send things like the crystal light instant drink packs someone sent me on bedrest. Those rock and most hospitals have a lot of water and juice available to drink, but nothing more at least on the floors.

Thanks to all those who have offered spiritual support and support with the things we have needed to do. We cannot express how much we have relied on the support throughout the last many months.

We pray for all the families who are looking at much longer stays than we have had and pray they can get the support they need too.

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I'm a mommy, wife and educated woman with an inquisitive mind. I am always looking in ways to challenge and grow in my faith. Many wise people I have known have reminded me if I am not growing, I am going in the wrong direction.