Living and Coping with a Chronically Ill Family Member
Illness is something that no one likes to think about, yet it is an inevitable part of life. People can be healthy one day and then struck by an illness the next. It can be something as simple as a cold, or something more severe like cancer, mental illness, or hepatitis. Regardless of the illness, it can be a trying time for both the individual and their family members. Coping with a chronically ill family member can be tough, but it can also make you a stronger person. Here are some things that you can learn from living with a chronically ill family member:
1. Real Friends Stand Out in Tough Times
One of the things that you will notice when you have a chronically ill family member is that you will learn who your real friends are. You realize that not everyone in your life has the capacity to stand by you when things get tough. The people who do make themselves known and prove themselves to be reliable sources of support. It’s essential to pay attention to who stands by you during times of difficulty.
2. Doctors are Practicing, Not Winning
Doctors are an integral part of the medical field, but it’s also essential to remember that they are practicing medicine. This means that they are not infallible, and while they have extensive knowledge, they may not have all the answers. It’s important to communicate with them and ask questions so that you can have a better understanding of what’s happening with your family member.
3. Nurses are the Vital Part of Every Hospital
While doctors get all the glory on medical dramas, the nursing staff is the heartbeat of every hospital. They are the ones who take care of patients’ daily needs, from monitoring vital signs to administering medication to handling medical records. Nurses work for long hours under stressful conditions, yet they remain compassionate and patient. They deserve the utmost respect.
4. You Learn Who Your Loved One Really Is
Chronic illness can bring out a wide range of emotions in people. Sadness, anger, and frustration are all to be expected. However, when a family member is in the hospital, you get to see who they are at their core. This is a person who may not react to challenges in the same way as they do in everyday life. Seeing this side of someone can be enlightening and help you better understand and appreciate them.
5. Patience is a Virtue
Hospitals can be slow and often take a long time to do things. With doctors, specialists, residents, and pharmacists involved in a patient’s care, it can take time to get things done. Waiting for care can be frustrating, but it teaches you patience. By learning to wait for care to be delivered on “hospital time,” you develop a new level of patience that can be applied to other areas of your life.
Living and coping with a chronically ill family member is a trying time. However, it can also be a time of growth and insight. It can teach you about the fragility of life, the importance of having supportive friends and family, and the value of patience. Remember that illness does not discriminate, and we all may find ourselves in similar situations someday. By being patient, compassionate, and willing to learn, we can support our loved ones and help them through the difficulties that come with chronic illness.