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There is an unwritten contract between good friends, that we will support each other, in sickness and in health. When a friend is admitted to hospital, or is sick at home, it can be an anxiety-ridden time for not just the ailing person, but their family and friends as well. If a loved one in is not well, the natural response is to become concerned, even if a full recovery is expected. Sometimes it’s hard to find the appropriate thing to say, or the appropriate get well gift to bring to their bedside. Remember that most anything will be received in the way it was intended, when you act on your love and concern for the person.
There are a few things you should remember when visiting a sick friend or relative in the hospital or home. Firstly, don’t assume that your sick friend or relative will want to have visitors. Offer to stop by, but don’t be offended if they don’t want to see you. It’s not personal, and it may be just the timing that isn’t right. Ask if they’d like you to check in later in the week. If the person does want visitors on a particular day, always plan ahead. Don’t “drop in” unexpectedly, and expect that they’ll be thrilled to see you. When they are not feeling their best, it’s unlikely that a surprise drop in is going to make them feel good. Chances are that they’d love to see you, just give them a little time to get comfy, brush teeth, straighten hair etc. Even a phone call before you leave the house is better than dropping by unannounced.
When you do make plans ahead of time to visit, always be there when you say you’ll be there. They might have all the time in the world to wait, but that also means that time goes slowly when they are waiting on you. They may have factored in naps and mealtimes around you, so be conscious of their schedule too. Furthermore, hospitals often have strict visiting hours and you don’t want to be arriving five minutes before you are asked to leave.
It can sometimes be a little scary for children to visit a very sick relative or friend. They are used to seeing the person in a very different condition and, especially for very young children, sickness is not something they understand completely. Try to remember what it was like to see a sick person in hospital when you were a child. The sight of weakness and frailty can be upsetting to an adult, let alone a child, so when you take a young person with you to visit the hospital, make sure you have prepared him or her for what they will see. Give the child the responsibility of carrying flowers or a gift to give as an icebreaker for both the child and the ailing friend or relative.
When your friend has the flu or is recovering from surgery, they still need to feel the love of their friends and family. Your support now will make the sick days more manageable, and there are so many ways you can be a great friend. As long as your friend is not contagious, offer to come over to cook dinner one night. Find out what their favorite dish is, bring a bag of groceries and a good recipe for it, and be their personal chef (and dishwasher after dinner). Take a selection of DVDs that you know they’ll enjoy, or take recordings of sitcoms they love. Make a movie night of it, or leave the DVDs for them to watch at their own leisure.
Arrive at their house bearing gifts. Shari’s Berries “Get Well” cookie bouquets or Handmade Get Well Chocolate Cake Pops are perfect for a bedridden or hospitalized friend, colleague or loved one. Predictably, bringing chocolate goes over well too…
Your sick friend probably feels a little out of touch, so update them on everything that has been going on in the outside world, from world events, to what friends are up to. Something personalized to read is a wonderful gift for a bedridden friend, but having to read emails in bed on a laptop can be annoying, and might not even be an option in the hospital. Write up a little “news bulletin” every week and send it or drop it in to them. Cut out newspaper and magazine articles you think they will find interesting or funny, and write up your own articles that include tidbits about what’s going on with family and friends.
If you can’t get to the hospital, or your ailing friend’s home, there are ways to brighten a sick person’s day from your office chair. Make a phone call, send flowers, send treats or write an email. Sending flowers is the traditional way to bring a little sunshine into a sick person’s day, but sending sweet treats is guaranteed to bring smiles. Shari’s Berries “Get Back on Your Feet” Cookie Bouquet, Gourmet Dipped Swizzled Berries, Handmade “Get Well” Chocolate Cake Pops, and Dipped Pretzels & Fancy Berries are perfect gifts to send to an ailing friend or relative.
There are lots of reasons you mightn’t be able to visit. You might live too far away, or your ailing loved one might not want visitors. If they are contagious, it’s best to stay away too, especially if your own immunity is low and you are feeling a little susceptible to sickness yourself. You don’t have to be there in person to show them your love. Send sweet gifts, with messages from the heart attached. Both flowers for the mantle and sweets to indulge in any time, our deluxe “Hugs and Kisses” flower bouquet with twelve gourmet dipped strawberries is a popular get well gift that gives them the best of both worlds.
Life gets busy, and when friends are in hospital or just under the weather for prolonged periods, it’s sometimes difficult to pop in to show support. In our hearts and minds we are with them in their time of need, but in many cases, a friend is back on his or her feet before we ever get around to visiting them at the hospital or dropping in with chicken soup. Don’t just wait it out and see them when they are better - send a sweet treat to tell them you are thinking of them, because they won’t know it, if you don’t show it.