A Wellness Wish List
Listening to so many injured women, reminds me of the days before my husband died and everyone would say “if you need anything let me know”. Sounds so wonderful but I soon realized it is something so many people say but they rarely mean it. It is also something we have all come to expect to hear because it is so normal. I also realize now there were things I really needed help with but I did not know how to ask.
I grew up vastly differently. My mother raised me and my siblings to never say anything you didn’t mean. She drilled into us that if you did it was lying, even though you didn’t think it was. So I knew this was very taboo in my own household. When my daughter came along I instilled the same things in her that had been taught to me and had served me well in my adult years. But I always had difficulties listening to others saying things that are considered the correct things to say, when I knew these things were wrong and would hurt others. But I learned that this is the way most people think and that is how they are taught.
A lot of it is because it is easier to say something that you think will make someone feel better, regardless of if you mean it. When you hear everyone else say certain things continuously you become used to it and truly believe it is okay. So when I read recently that a woman said that someone had told her she was going to send her flowers after surgery, but they never did and it hurt her very much, I couldn’t help but feel sad for her. It has happened to me too in other ways but for some reason I don’t really expect people to say things they truly mean and perhaps that is not a good thing. I suppose we shouldn’t be desensitized to words, but I think it is my coping mechanism. I also suspect anyone who comes on too strong telling me things they ‘think’ I want to hear. I always take note in my mind and I try to remember not to say those things to someone else. To me they are a lesson learned. So the gist of this is, please don’t tell another mesh injured woman something you don’t mean or you can’t afford to do. This is not the way to make or keep friends.
This morning a woman was telling me how hard it was for her to clean her house and she really needed to because she was going to have an appraiser come next week. She hopes to take a little of the much needed cash she needs to pay her expenses for surgery but she is worried about how her house looked. I know how she feels because when you are mesh injured, doing anything in your house is difficult at best. I also know she works full time, not because she would not love to quit work but she has overhead, living expenses and high health insurance premiums. So I told her tell the appraiser her situation and not worry about how the house looks. I also told her if it was a female doing it, make sure she was educated about mesh, before she leaves.
As the day wore on I was thinking about her and her struggles. She is a very intelligent women who spent years building her career and now she struggles to go to work. Then she is worrying about how clean her house is. So I began thinking about it and decided to write a blog about you beginning a Wellness Wish List. It may sound crazy but when someone says to you “What can I do to help”, pull one out of your bag and hand it to them. If they take it as an insult or you don’t hear from them again, what have you got to lose? You can also tailor make a list for your children and any other person you know, for who you have done many things in the past. Don’t wait for them to ask what they can do for you, give them your wish list and see what happens.
I know many women are afraid to ask their kids for help saying things like “He/she has got their own lives to live”. The truth is you are afraid to ask because you are afraid to hear the excuses. So I am going to ask you one question. If the shoe is on the other foot would you be helping them? So it is time to let others know what you need during the time of your surgery recovery. Don’t expect them to guess and don’t say words like “I’ll be fine, don’t worry”. No you won’t be fine, you will need others to help you through the first few weeks of recovery.
So what should a list be about? You could begin with your name and phone number before you hand it to coworkers, church members or friends and then explain it this way. I am sure before you take an absence of leave from work, most of your coworkers will sympathize and say “Let me know if you need anything”. This will be an excellent time to have your list on hand. So begin your list with a short introduction.
“I know this may seem very odd to hand this to you but I am hoping that by sharing my fears and needs you will help in any way possible. The following is a list of things that could truly help me get through my upcoming surgery and a few weeks after. I am not asking for money but would appreciate any of the following.
I am sad to say I have a hard time cleaning my house, both now and I know will have more difficulties after surgery. If you could possibly stop by and wash some dishes, change my bed, do a load of laundry, or run a vacuum cleaner over my floors it would be so very much appreciated. If you cannot spare the time but know a cleaning service and are willing to pay for one hour of cleaning I would also appreciate it.
Please understand that after surgery I will have little appetite for food so bringing a food by for me, will probably be wasted. This is due to the amount of anesthesia and medications I will be given during and after surgery. I would hate you to waste your time, ingredients and energy cooking for me but I do appreciate the thought.
Money is very tight for me and I will need some good supplements and probiotics to help me get back on my feet after my surgery. I can give you a list for a store or a company to order these things on line. It would be most helpful to me because I truly want to have the best possible chance of getting well as soon as I am able.
I will at times need transport. The normal time for not driving after surgery is two weeks but because of the type of surgery I am going to have, the time for not driving may be extended, so I would appreciate very much if you have time to take me to a doctor’s appointment and/or stop by and pick up a prescription. This would allow me to be free of stress and I can recover at a faster pace.”
I am giving you a general idea of what your list could be but you need to take time and customize it long before your surgery. If you hand the list to the person, they can’t lie and say “Oh sorry I didn’t help, but I didn’t get that”. A list may seem silly but let’s face it. It will truly show you who will be there for you in your time of need and if you don’t get the help you need, mentally file it in your brain and stop doing so much for those who don’t deserve it.
I know it will probably hurt to find out how few people will do anything to help you and sad to say it may make you feel very unloved. But honestly by the time most women have gone through many years of illness due to mesh, they realize they no longer have any friends. Their world becomes very small with perhaps one person to rely on. So it won’t be any surprise to these women. But for those of you who work full time, have older kids or have church friends, it is time to ask for help. So why not make a wellness wish list and see what happens. Hopefully some of you will find yourself very blessed.