The Kindness of Friends

I am sure that is the title of a song or book.Over this recent Christmas break, my daughter was taken seriously ill with a life-changing spinal condition, which meant that she spent her Christmas in hospital and her child spent her seventh birthday and her Christmas Day away from her Mummy. It was much harder for my daughter to cope. She was recovering from a long and painful operation so was not in the best frame of mind to be depressed with post-anaesthetic blues. The fact that she was in constant pain could not have helped.

Throughout this experience, she kept contact with her friends via social networking sites and the offers of help and support kept her going. Even to the point of filming her journey by ambulance from one hospital to another for emergency surgery. Her friends looked after my grand-daughter and two new puppies that we foolishly acquired before she became ill. Our neighbours kept an eye on the pups whilst I travelled backwards and forwards to hospital. A good friend of mine came just to be with me, even though I had not asked for help. I was touched by her concern.

By the time my daughter was allowed to come home we were both exhausted from our different experiences.

I had to quickly adjust my life to being out of the house for only an hour at a time so that I could be on hand for anything that was needed in terms of care. Friends of my daughter rallied round and came over when I had no option but to be away for longer periods for work, bringing food and fun for my granddaughter. They brought home cooked food and apparently were quite cross that I had already completed the housework before going out because they wanted to do more.

It is difficult to find words to thank people effectively for such overtures of concern and support and I have now decided that the only thing we can do is to welcome them into our home any time.

When this first happened I panicked about what I could do for the best. I couldn’t take my daughter to hospital because I had to look after her child – and the pups.

I struggled to visit within usual visiting hours due to the importance of routine for a child who struggles through life with severe dyspraxia and other autistic tendencies. It became even more of a logistic nightmare when my daughter was transferred to a specialist hospital over an hour further away. Many roads were flooded and therefore impassable, so the journey took on its own nightmare-ish quality. As a controlling individual it was a challenge for me to rely on others.

Hospital time is so much slower than normal time and we became frustrated by the numerous waits whilst she was sent for an MRi or other forms of treatment.

Anyway, we have since celebrated aspects of Christmas and birthday once she came home. We have yet to have a Christmas dinner or pull the crackers and the candles I lit on Christmas Eve morning so I could sing happy birthday to my grand daughter were so ferocious they almost burnt the house down, so we won’t repeat that for her Mum. We managed to fit in a pantomime but not the celebratory Italian meal – it wouldn’t have been the same with two of us instead of three.

Now we wait and see if sensation returns or if balance improves. In the meantime, I now run on a timetable designed to make even the sanest person scream. We will get through it. We are a strong unit but I am so thankful for friends.

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