We may never be fully prepared for tragedy. It visits when we are least expecting it, appearing in any one of many forms, and catching us unawares. It also has the power to transform us and our circumstances, sometimes setting us in a new direction. Are we ready for life-altering conditions? Can we truly ever be fully ready for it? I don’t think so. But we can have systems in place to ease the transition.
In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, my husband was involved in a work-related incident that resulted in a broken hip, as the ball snapped off the femur bone. He was in severe pain for over 12 hours before surgery was able to replace the hip joint late Tuesday evening. He is expected to make a full recovery. We are very thankful that it wasn’t life-threatening or affected other parts of his body. We came home on Thursday evening with an arsenal of meds, a walking apparatus, and light exercises to aid his mending process, but he will not be participating in any work-related activities at home or on the job for about 8 weeks. One tragic moment will have on-going repercussions.
Character is revealed when hardship imputes pressure. As individuals, and as a team, we met that challenge by unwavering attendance to the others’ needs. Family, friends, and even acquaintances visited, called, sent gifts, and offered help. Their character and relationship being confirmed by their heartfelt actions. How comforting it is to have people in our lives that rally for us.
Healing is more than mere physical processes. Healing involves the whole person; their emotions, mental and spiritual strengths, and even extends to relationships. While medicine can address physical needs, atmosphere and environment can influence other needs. What can our environments (homes, farms, homesteads, you fill in the word) do to aide recovery?
- Safe haven. This is a no brainer. For someone who is challenged with walking, remove all rugs, pet toys, cords, anything that could trip or impede their path. Put pillows and blankets nearby for easy access. These are items of comfort, reducing anxiety and motivating rest.
- Safe behaviors. Verbally review physician instructions and medicinal schedules. This is not the time to get bossy, remember you are a team. Serve without resentment because your willingness to provide aide is a stress reliever.
- Real food is also medicine for the soul as well as the physical body. A home that already practices “cooking from scratch” is better prepared for recovery from traumatic circumstances. Good nutrition is an arsenal against infections, deficiencies, and other imbalances. Organic or
homegrown vegetables and fruits are better than store bought or processed where nutritional benefits are lost or coated with pesticides. Grass-fed meats are better than the grain fed, hormone enhanced cuts you buy at the store. No matter what situation you are in, start implementing a small portion of real food that replaces processed stuff and continue until you can fix that dish, let’s say salad, without thought. Once you’ve mastered the buying and preparing of that dish, move to another area, let’s say eggs. If you can’t buy your own chickens to raise, look for those in your neighborhood that you can buy eggs from. Farmers Markets are one of the best places to shop!
- Don’t forget the mind. “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another” – William James. Waiting for a body to heal can lead to boredom, restlessness, and induce anxiety. Provide entertainment for their mind. Reading, watching movies, listening to audio recordings, puzzles, and puzzle books all offer distraction from stressful thoughts. Some also enhance learning as well. Introduce a hobby which will depend on the person’s preference, such as knitting, hooking rugs, painting model cars, carving wood, or many others.
- Make allowances. Pain can cause irritability which may be directed at those nearest and dearest. Be patient and understanding but also take breaks. Working in my garden is soothing to my soul as well as making bread. Fortunately, we have not needed breaks from each other, and no one has been irritable, but these are good things to keep in mind. Other great breaks might include a bubble bath, sitting on the porch, going for a walk, or meeting a friend for coffee. Breaks are necessary for patients and caregivers alike.
Life is truly a journey and it is great to have someone to share it with. Life is also full of learning if we allow ourselves to listen instead of react. Is there anything you would add to this list that would be useful to me?