There are many Boomers that live alone and may not have close family or friends. When an illness strikes, such as heart surgery, they may find it difficult to do a lot of things that normally would be routine. This happened to me this year. I am going to share the things that I learned from my own personal experience.
- It is important to keep a , I can do this, positive attitude.
- Do not over do because you are recovering. Follow your doctors orders but do not give up.
- You may find that some people that you thought would be there for you, are not there. Try not to let this interfere with your recovery. Thinking about it or stressing out will only make it more difficult for you to do the things that you can. Keep a forgiving attitude. Everyone has reasons for what they do. Remember that you are number one while recovering.
- Take rest periods as needed.
- Play relaxing music to DE-stress.
- When you are able,per your doctor’s orders, walk. Every little bit helps. Yes, it may hurt but eventually the pain will leave and you will recovery much faster. Do all the exercises that the hospital personnel that instructed you to do. It will hurt but do it! You will be weak but this is how you get better. If there is a problem do not hesitate to call your physician.
- If you know in advance, stock up on healthy foods that are easy to prepare. If it is a sudden thing like a heart attack, you might want to call your senior center and have meals on wheels delivered to your home.
- Have a safety device rail in your bath tub area. A shower chair also will help. When you are able to bath, you will not have the strength that you once had to get out of the tub. It is important not to slip, so be careful.
- If you have a cell phone, make sure you have it with you at all times. Should you fall or need help dial 911 immediately.
- Organize your medicines so that you do not forget to take them at the correct times. Your thinking may not be as alert as it was before the illness and it is very important to take those medicines correctly.
- Do not drive until the doctor says that it is okay. Remember, it is not only your life in danger but the life of others on the road.
- If you are not suppose to lift, a lot of task such as laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning house and etc. may be difficult for you for awhile. A nice rolling cart with wheels makes it much easier to carry bags and laundry. Keep a disinfectant spray on hand. If you find in difficult to change your bedding as you did before, use the spray,as long as your bedding is not soiled. Just make sure everything is sanitary. Alcohol can also be used to wipe over things. Be careful with alcohol. You do not want it to get into open wounds. WASH YOUR HANDS ALL THE TIME!
- Have the proper soaps to use at home, such as Dial without perfume. You do not want to get your wound infected. Use that Soap and Water!
- Use heat and ice for minor pain. Your doctor can instruct you on which to use. Take your pain medications if needed. Do not mix over the counter medicines with prescription medicines without informing your doctor. This could have serious side effects. Your doctor will know when it is time for you to stop taking prescription pain relievers. Do your exercises and etc. so that you are prepared for this time when it happens.
- You may find that you are weak. Picking up items that you drop may be difficult. Believe it or not, I used spaghetti tongs to pick up small things. Hey, it worked for me. Be creative and figure out new ways to do things that will keep you from stressing or being overly tired. Paper plates worked well too. I did not have to stand long periods of time at the sink washing dishes. Then there is that dreaded full trash can that needs to go to dumpster. Instead of waiting until it is full, fill it half full. Then when the weather is nice, use this as an excuse to walk. Oh and by the way, I dragged it instead of carrying. It worked!
- When you find yourself getting frustrated, which you will, sit down, close your eyes, count and deep breath. Everything will be okay. It just takes time and a new way of doing things. Pat yourself on the back and say at -ta boy or girl. Do not give up! Remember, there are others, such as myself, that have had to do it alone too.
- Hopefully, you will have some great reading material near you. If you have access to a computer then use it! There are many support groups on line such as Heart Sisters; the one that I joined. Use your FB friends as much as you need to use them. They might not be there in person but it sure feels good to know that they care. My FB friends gave me so much encouragement. I am so grateful for them.
- Share at your doctors office. If he does not have time to be supportive or caring then you might want to consider looking for another physician, depending upon your given circumstance. Take full advantage of what your insurance company has to offer if you have medical insurance. Some offer physical therapy, rehabilitation, visiting nurses, sitters and etc. Use them if needed!
- If you are employed, it will do no good to sit at home worrying about when you can get back to work. I know times are rough. I was there myself. Take the necessary time to heal before going back to work. I must admit, I did not do this. Now I am having to do some of the things that I should have done before starting back to a full time job. You might be thinking,”Yes, this is easier said than done. I need a pay check.” I understand, I did too. Now I regret not fully getting well before going back to work. Even though Dave Ramsey says, tear up those credit cards, I believe that sometimes a person needs one. When my emergency fund ran out, I used the credit card. Being frugal is good but doing without the necessary things that you need when sick is NOT the time to save money. Your life is much more important than money. When you are well then you can work and pay that credit card off. It is working for me!
- If you have a pet while sick love on it. Pets seem to have a way of knowing when you need love too. No, they are not human, but wow, are they great company!
- Now for the big one that is difficult for some of us to do; ask for help. I know you might get rejected then again you might not. Ask the grocery man to carry your groceries to the car. Let him return the cart. Let the neighbor help you with that door. Make it an opportunity to meet a neighbor and get their phone number. You might need to use it and in addition you might get a time later on down the line to return the favor. You might even make a friend. If you have a place where you worship, sometimes they are willing to help. Ask, Ask and use that telephone and computer. It does not mean that you are a weak person because you ask for help. Always thank the person or send them a thank you card. Actually doing something for you is not only helping you but is a way that they are being rewarded by giving.
Take time to adjust to being alone and enjoying it. Let things go if you are tired. It will get done when you feel better. Take this time to pamper and love yourself. You will find that when you come out of all of this that you will be a much stronger person than you were before. At that time then tell your story. Help someone else. That is how it works. Do not give up hope, Each day that you try gives you one more chance to be an inspiration to others in the journey of life.
I heard something that inspired me a few weeks while watching the television program NCIS, by Gibbs. He said, “Family is more than just DNA. It’s about people that care and and take care of each other.” Boomers, we are family! Reach out and touch someone today. Your aloneness will be less and your awards greater! Be good to yourself! By giving you will receive!