16 JanWhen Friends Get Hurt

Yesterday a neighbor (the wife) was seriously hurt in a bike/car accident. She is in intensive care under sedation for a week, on a ventilator and banged up pretty bad. There are many broken bones in her face and chest, but at this point, doctors are hopeful for a good prognosis. She has a long road of recovery ahead of her, and we are all nervously praying and hoping for no brain damage, which we won’t know until at least a week from now when they try to wake her.

I was trying hard to think of a funny topic I felt like writing this morning, but this situation has weighed so heavily on me I just couldn’t get my mind around anything else. We never like to hear about someone getting hurt, but when it is so close to home and people we care about, the distress is much harder. Nothing is harder than when your immediate family is affected, but friends come in a close second. I can’t even imagine what her husband is going through right now.

What to do to help the family is always difficult at this point. They have extended family close by, so their kids are being well taken care of. The husband is a school administrator, so he is able to take time off during the summer to do whatever he needs to at the hospital. I just never know whether to contact someone or just not bother them during their time of grief. This family has many friends in the neighborhood and area, so I know they are being hit from angles with offers of support; yet, I don’t want to say anything and have them no realize we are here if they need us.

Unfortunately, I have had many extended hospital experiences with various family members. I know what matters to me most is having ways to pass the time. That may sound callous, but when you are in for the “long haul” you will have a lot of time on your hands that you need to fill with something other than fretting about the one you care about in pain. For someone that is less familiar with staying at the bedside for an extended time, it may come across as insensitive if I were to offer to them a batch of movies and a way to watch them. Yet, that is exactly what I would like to do for this friend.

Another difficulty is wanting to know the latest status, especially when there is not much to tell. The last thing this friend need is a constant stream of calls from various people wanting to know what is going on. Retelling the details of what you do know, plus expressing that you don’t know anything else knew can be very frustrating. I was grateful that his extended family had the foresight and tech-savvy to put up a blog yesterday for status updates. Now friends and family can visit the site, express their support and concern all in one location without interfering hourly.
So for now, I have left my comments on their blog of support and I will sit back and wait. The most likely time they will need help is when he is awake and coming home; then we can step in and do everything that friends can and should do in times of need. Perhaps in a day or two, I will see about the movie thing, when he has had a chance to process everything he will need to do and the time to fill waiting. If you have a chance, say a little prayer for her speedy recovery. Her name is Jill; loved wife and mother of four.