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A Worthwhile Hospital Visit
Because of Death, we appreciate life #9
Life has forever shifted………
Your lifelong companion can no longer be cared for at home, and although it cannot be possibly true, their days are drawing to an end. Care at home has now transferred to care by others in a hospital. There will now be driving, car parking, speaking with doctors, taking in the little creature comforts, and the dreaded walk to the ward. Hospitals do have this ‘thing’ about them; although they are stale and not homely, they are the best place to care for someone’s physical well-being. When visits are over, you can be rest assured this will be a priority.
So how do hospital visits often go? And by the way, unless you are absolutely sure of hospital routines always phone to see whether a visit is possible. There could be a vast array of reasons why a visit is not the best idea.
But you have rung, and all is fine for a visit, and they added that your loved one is doing OK, despite the circumstances. So back to the question; how do hospital visits often go?
After all you don’t want to create a fuss, and actually want to be as invisible as possible. So you walk to the ward, perhaps speak with any nurses if they around, and then you creep up to the room, peering around the door, and then after gathering your breath walk in. “How are you today?” or “Are they looking after you?” or “How was the food; and what did you have this morning?” are the usual type of questions. And after the responses, which probably will not take that long, what do you do then? Sit there, hold their hand. This person you have known for years, now seems like a stranger. Eventually you will leave, and wonder whether the visit was worthwhile at all.
But I am going to make a little guess here. Your loved one is probably very happy to see you, as you have broken up what is probably a very boring and scary experience. Is there more we can bring to a hospital visit, and maybe turn it into an experience? There are a few things I can think of. What about reading a book to them; or maybe have a jigsaw that you are working on together; or do a crossword together? If there is a sporting game, maybe gather a few together to watch it. If it is possible, maybe get them out of the room altogether, and find a garden in the hospital to sit in. When you leave, and you always should ‘at just the right time’ you and your partner will both feel uplifted by the visit.
Focus on what it is that makes your relationship still special, because it still is, but different, as opposed to what has been lost. It is in these unexpected times the conversation, and the connection, may become bigger than the two of you. It is in these times, the discussions that need to be had, maybe easier to have, as there is comfort and familiarity. It is these precious moments you will remember, and memories are the moments which will keep us going.
Something to ponder next time you are visiting in a hospital. However you may be feeling, they are valuable.
To close this post off, I am going to a very unlikely clip from a very favourite series of mine; the 2004 remake of Battlestar Galactica, and the relationship between William Adama (Galactica Commander) and Laura Rosin (President) as together they face a tragedy they know is coming. The writers knew exactly what they were doing; creating memories that will live on. Watch the clip here.
This commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.