Saturday, April 12, 2014

WHAT PATIENTS NEED - the power of touch

I'm running late this morning, so I'll keep this brief:

The callback for more mammograms can be a nuisance, a little scare, or the beginning of a disorienting journey.   For an unmarried woman with no sisters, the resulting diagnosis can put us in a lonely place.

I didn't really have what I'd call a friend in my new state.   My family are very optimistic, and not into a lot of hugs.  I wanted to scream, "You have no idea how this is going to turn out!  Stop telling me it can be easily fixed!!!  This is not your breast."

Instead, I felt required to put on my big girl pants and march on.

Then yesterday an article in a magazine took me instantly back to when my best friend  was dying of cancer.
She was recently out of a long relationship. Her parents were hours away, and the journey back and forth tired them.  Her ex-husband was a disrupting factor at times.

Finally, out of ideas, I sat on the bed one day and simply held her had during visiting hours. She told her mother about it enthusiastically.

So I was impressed when this important article in April MORE reminded us that patients are rarely touched except during procedures.  The writer suggested we gently "put a hand on her shoulder, or hold her hand."

Maybe we need a follow-up article.  Some of us, when we're patients may need to ask:  Can I have a hug?

If you can get a copy of the April issue, I strongly suggest you read the other good suggestions for helping a sick friend.

No comments: