A friend called to give me an update on the status of her mother who had been in the hospital for several weeks. The family, always supportive, sometimes close, sometimes not so close had done a wonderful job of making sure that this much loved mom was not alone during her stay in the hospital.
Gradually her mom improved, got out of intensive care and was ready to be moved into a facility where they could care for her during her recovery. My friend had already had to miss work for extensive amounts of time for two hospitalizations that involved her son. Now, her mom. She was devoted to her mom and it was painful for her to hear the staff tell her that her mom did well when the family was there, but when they left her heart began to do strange dangerous things. What to do? My friend needed to take care of her mom, but she needed to take care of her son, but she needed to take care of her husband, but she needed to take care of her job, but she needed to reconnect with friends, but she needed to clean her house, but she needed to SLEEP! So many things that she needed to do, but now she was being told that her mother’s life (her heart) needed her to be there in order to function properly.
As I listened, I remembered when I was in the hospital, in intensive care, after an emergency surgery that removed my spleen and left me with a collapsed lung that needed to re-inflate. Was I scared? You bet I was! Did I feel all alone? Absolutely! Did I want my family there? I wanted them, and only them to help me navigate through all the difficulties that simply existing brought forth. They did a wonderful job of taking care of me, but as I listened to my friend I remembered some other things that helped.
My bible! Since I had been taken by ambulance to the hospital I didn’t have my bible with me. My daughter loaned me hers and I kept it open on my chest as I rested and awaited surgery. My mp-3 player with audio books on it kept my mind from wandering into scary places. My sound machine -the hospital is a noisy place. My eye pillow – I have one that is lavender scented ( a gift from my fabulous nephew) and one that is peppermint scented (made for me by my daughter) that feel like a little piece of heaven resting on my eyes when the world becomes too bright and noisy! My neck pillow – just a small roll of memory foam that supported the curvature of my neck when I was forced to lie flat. My corn bag – a gift from my father-in-law many years ago that when heated in the microwave and put at the foot of the bed under the covers, keeps my feet warm for hours! These are a few of the comfort things that made a big difference when I was alone and scared in a world where I had no control over the smallest thing.
My friend thanked me for sharing these things and said that I always have good ideas. I don’t know about that, but I thought these things that are comforting to me, might spark ideas in others about the things that bring comfort to them. After all, this world is sometimes too bright, too noisy, too tight, and too scary. We could all use a little bit of comfort to make it through life. What helps you feel comfortable?