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These are my favorite five ways to help injured friends. Accidents happen to everyone. If you have a friend who has been hurt, you may be wondering: How can you help? Everyone is a bit different, but this list is a good starting point.
LIST BASED ON (A LOT OF) PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
I feel passionately about this topic. Let me begin with a little personal history. I’ve had a few injuries. Occasionally, I feel like I have spent the majority of my adult life recovering from an injury or in rehabilitation from one. The list includes:
- 7 broken ankles (right foot)
- 4 broken ankles (left side)
- 1 ankle surgery complete reconstruction
- Broken humerus (right shoulder) 37 places. Two surgeries (one for infection, one for reconstruction)
- Broken humerus (left shoulder)
- Two broken elbows (managed that one at the same time)
- Two broken wrists (once in three places, once shattered)
- Fingers and toes (too many to count)
- One knee surgery
- One injury involved my left ankle and right knee, which required two months in a wheelchair
- One shoulder surgery involved an infection, hospital stay and a PICC line. Super sick for months.
- Another time I broke my right ankle and cut my left shin. Super infection, week in the hospital, wound care for six weeks and another two months in a wheel chair.
- Broken tail bone (almost forgot that one).
My point is this: I consider myself an expert of sorts on ways to help an injured friend because I’ve had amazing people come to my rescue!
1. FOOD! PLEASE BRING FOOD TO HELP INJURED FRIENDS!
Especially after the initial accident, bringing food really does make a huge difference. For some reason, this seems to be a dying art. Ask (text/call/phone) a relative to see if you can simply leave it in the refrigerator. Knowing that there is something easy to grab makes a huge difference! You don’t cook? Guess what? Me neither! Frozen lasagna is a lifesaver, it doesn’t have to be homemade. Having simple basics for kids lunches and snacks are key. Extra friend points if you bring a favorite dessert! Even simple things like fruit or prepackaged meals and salads are wonderful. Anything that makes life easier. One of the best items that we ever received were food delivery gift cards from my daughter’s soccer team. Not having to worry about trying to maneuver around while in pain and still feed the kids was a huge blessing!
2. OFFER TO HELP WITH RIDES.
Many accidents require heavy duty pain medication for the first few days, weeks or even months. If you have any time to help with rides to the doctor or dropping the kids at school and activities, please offer to help. Think of how crazy your family life is between work and kid activities, but add an injury to that and things stop.
Call in your sports family and see if you can help arrange rides for the kids activities. Social media is a wonderful way to keep in touch with your team parent’s. Most people love to help, it’s more about organizing. Grab a calendar and bring it over to the injured person’s house. Write in where and when everyone needs to be and start making calls and texts. This is truly valuable. When a family’s life is in turmoil the simple act of keeping a routine helps keep spirits up.
3. SPECIAL CLOTHING CAN HELP!
Depending on the type of injury, a gift of clothing can help an injured person be more comfortable! Pajamas that button or have snap tops with huge arm holes are great if it’s an upper body injury. I suggest a size (or two) larger. Soft pants with wide bottoms will be a godsend for lower body injuries. Anything that can easily stretch over the injured area will make it much easier for the injured friend to dress.
Most of us don’t normally have over-sized items in our closet. The outdoor adventurer’s quote, “friends don’t let friends wear cotton” truly doesn’t apply here. Cotton is key as it is soft and can breath. It is a good idea to avoid anything that is decorated with stitching, sequins, buttons or other hard items . When you are sitting all day, those cute appliques really don’t feel so good!
4. SHAMPOOS, LOTIONS, AND BATH PRODUCTS CAN LIFT SPIRITS!
A friend once brought me a gift basket with dry shampoo, lotion, lip care and a bunch of magazines. It was the best! If you are wondering what in the world dry shampoo is, it is shampoo that will clean your hair without water. An invaluable item for a friend whose injury will prevent them from bathing/showering regularly. If they can manage the tub (Who doesn’t like a hot bath to soothe achy muscles/joints and melt away the stress?) bath salts, Epsom salts and other bathing products are a wonderful way to help your injured friend heal.
5. PAY FREQUENT VISITS.
Lets face it, the weeks and months of recovery can be lonely. Sometimes the best way to help an injured friend is to come on over, hang out or maybe watch a movie. Often, just having someone just to talk to can be the biggest help of all.
The smallest movements become a huge, difficult task with an injury. Navigating a trip to the bathroom still conjures dread when I think about it. One time my mother-in-law came and saw the pain I was in and brought me a porta potty for my living room AND I USED IT IN THE LIVING ROOM FOR OVER A MONTH. I was truly thankful for it! Fill up my water bottle when you have to leave. Make sure the remote is near.
Please, above everything, tell the person that they will get through this. Remind them that they are strong. Tell them you care about them and want to help. Injury and pain do crazy things to a person’s head and emotions. Please be patient and don’t give up!
***Disclosure! Really gross pictures coming up!
*Couldn’t end it with out just a few fun pictures of my injuries! The left picture is my knee. The right is an ankle. Be careful out there! – Laura