What the Heck Happened?
The past two months have been a wild roller coaster ride for my family. For those of you who do not know, my husband was dirt bike riding with friends and our boys on January 13, 2018. He was riding on a trail and recalls accidentally riding on one wheel, I say accidentally because he doesn’t even know how to do wheelies!
As he tried to get back on two wheels he flew off the bike and somersaulted several times landing flat on his back. OUCH! He fractured his pelvis on the right acetabulum (he needed surgery for this) and messed up his left shoulder. They called it an AC shoulder dislocation.
He is two months post-op and we are still in his “recovery phase”. Below are 4 pointers on how to get you through caring for a family member during this time.
1) Give them the space to moan, groan and be angry: Recovering from an injury is NO easy task. There are going to be moments that suck and their fuse is going to be short with anyone that crosses their path.
When we arrived home from the hospital there was a delivery truck in our driveway carrying in an old outdated hospital bed, a wheelchair, a walker that looked like an AT-AT walker from the movie “Star Wars”, and a bedside commode. Sitting in the car my husband starting yelling at me that he didn’t need any of these things! As he tried to get out of the car in immense pain he realized he couldn’t walk and in fact needed the wheelchair. He then yelled at me again, “Go get me that wheelchair”. This was a difficult moment for him. He had to accept life was going to be a temporary challenge.
My advice to you: Go with the flow. Dealing with the issue at hand is way more beneficial than allowing things to boil and come out down the road. As much as you’d like to argue and fight back – DON’T DO IT! Let them vent and be supportive. Put yourself in their shoes.
2) Encourage Them to be Independent and Have a Routine: The first three days home after his discharge from the hospital was an adjustment for both of us. My husband didn’t shower, he watched endless reruns/episodes of the TV show “Cops”, and laid in the hospital bed.
Eventually enough is enough. Time comes to start a daily routine. Showering every morning, no matter what, was where we started.
Showering may sound like an easy task but in fact, for him, it was the very opposite. The shower is upstairs, 15 steps to be exact. We worked together to get him up the stairs. He thought up a unique and unsafe way of getting up the stairs. He used his walker sideways, like a cane, part on the step and the other half unsupported in the air as he hobbled up the stairs. I stayed behind him as if I could catch him if he’d fall. Luckily, he never fell. This one routine took over an hour of his day, 20 minutes of which was going up and down the stairs.
Encouraging independence and beginning a routine was HUGE for his road to recovery.
3) Laugh: There are moments you MUST laugh at what you are going through. It is what gets you through the hard times. My husband had a severe allergic reaction to one of the medications he was taking. His face and lips became so swollen we couldn’t help but crack up and make light of the situation. Angelina Jolie had nothing on him!
4) Responsibility: It is important both you and your family member take responsibility for what you are going through! Talk about expectations for what the recovery period will be like.
My husband had the inner drive for getting better. From complete bed rest, to using a wheelchair and walker to now graduating to a crutch is a huge accomplishment. Bravo to him! As his wife, my responsibility was to encourage, support, laugh and be by his side.
I encourage you to think about how you can be more supportive during your loved ones recovery process. Put yourself in their shoes as they are going through what can be a difficult time.