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It's definitely been a season of hospitalizations for friends and family the last couple of years. This week, I learned a dear friend has been admitted to the hospital for major surgery later this week. For the Sandwich Generation caring for aging parents with health issues, that does seem to happen a lot more than the norm, but, of course, it can happen in any family at any time, can't it?
When a mutual friend emailed out the information and prayer requests, she added the request for no phone calls or visitors for the first couple of days as they worked to adjust medications and prepare her for surgery. Having spent more time than I'd like with loved ones in hospitals, I know, very well, how hard it is to receive phone calls and visitors even when it's something simple, and even more so when it's major. Doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, etc. constantly pop in with no notice to get info, give info, help, take blood, give medications…. It's no wonder people go HOME to get caught up on their rest. It's HARD WORK being in the hospital, that's for sure.
Because of that, unless it's my immediate family, I usually do not call or go by, preferring to drop off a card or gift or send one, so they know I am thinking of them and praying for them but not wanting to be in the way. One of my favorite things lately has been to take advantage of something many hospitals offer – ecards at the hospital website. You get the patient's room number, go to the hospital website, find the e-card option, fill it out, and a volunteer delivers it to their room that day or the next. It's wonderful! Way faster than snail mail. A bit more special than a text message, assuming they even have their cell phones in the hospital with them.
Even if it's a child or grandchild IN the hospital, they'll love getting these ecards. And what fun to help our grandkids create these ecards on the computer to send to a loved one, whether near or far.
I was shocked to discover that my friend's hospital – a big hospital in a big city that is many MANY miles from me – did NOT offer this option! You'd think they would be at the fore-front of this thoughtful idea! For her, I mixed high and low tech options. I delegated a mutual friend to pick up a get well card from both of us and drop it off for her. In the meantime, another friend wrote and said she was now up to receiving texts and phone calls. So I also texted her with lots of love and prayers and was so blessed and encouraged with the sweet reply.
It's so hard when our loved ones are in the hospital and we aren't close enough to go visit. Mailing a card may not get it to them in a timely manner. I really applaud those hospitals that offer this ecard option on their websites and hope that all hospitals will implement this as soon as possible. It's as encouraging and uplifting for their patients to know others are thinking of them and praying for them as it is for friends and family to have a speedy option for letting them know they care! It's definitely such a big help for the busy Sandwich Generation. How about you? What's your favorite way of sending love to a friend or relative in the hospital, especially when they are far away?