Gift Giving—A Stroke Patients’ BedSide’s Remembrances
If You Friend or Loved One is in the Hospital
Sveral times a day posts in my blog get served up when someone types the words “gifts for stroke patients” or “stroke blogs” into a search engine.
Having been so described, I thought I would take a few moments to talk specifically about gifts for stroke patients when they ‘re in the hospital and fter they’ve come home.
Recovering from a stroke is a lonely thing. I feel the most important gift anyone can give a stroke patient is “time and patience.” It’s the latter that can be taxing for friends of stroke patients. Learning to sit patiently with a stroke victim can be taxing. First, strokes often have a side effect of shortening someone’s attention span. I freely admit to having ADD and my stroke made it much worse.
Add to that the fact that I knew I wasn’t speaking clearly and you have someone who is confined to a ward and very frustrated.
I spent about four months in a good hospital with a first-class rehab ward and a great physiatrist (a doctor that specializes in rehabbing stroke patients). About the only socialization I had was communal dining with other patients, my rehab appointments, and interactions with the nursing staff.
Visitors were a gift from heaven. What I wanted most was news from the world beyond the fifth floor of the hospital. And most patients would prefer that personal news of their world be delivered in–person, by a friend. Flowers may look nice, but seeing a friend does more to perk someone up, and the memory lasts a long time.
If you’re going to go calling here’s an idea for a gift that will be ravenously appreciated—a wholesome burger or other favorite comfort food. Good Lord, after three months on the rehab ward, I would have killed for chow from Taco Bell or InNOut. Of course, it’s wise to check with the nursing staff before bringing such food to your friend on a ward as the ability to swallow food is sometimes compromised by a stroke.
Assuming you feel comfortable taking food to a patient, why not make it a picnic out on a green hospital lawn?
My portable computer became my lifeline to the world while I was in the hospital. If you’re going to take a notebook computer to a stroke patient, make sure it has a dial-up ISP account on it. Very few hospitals have 802.11 WiFi so dialup is a must.
Using a computer while I was in rehab helped restore some of the fine motor skills in my stroke-damaged left hand. Today, I still can’t write legibly, but I can and do type accurately.
My notebook also opened up the world of Amazon.com to me while I was still in the hospital. Two of the most appreciated gifts I received in the hospital were Amazon gift certificates.
I also received a nice set of Logitech stereo gamer headphones while I was in rehab. They really helped me to enjoy the music stored on my notebook.
DVDs are another great gift. One of my friends on the rward received PBS’ Civil War Series on DVD. Watching it became a nightly ward social event and fueled a lot of subsequent conversations over meals.
To cut this post short, giving a stroke patient your time and learning to sit patiently may be one of the most important gifts you can give someone while they’re in the hospital.
And remember, your friend only had a stroke, they weren’t diagnosed with leprosy or Q fever. Don’t be afraid of them, they’re still your friend or loved one. Jim Forbes, five years after a stroke, happily retired, but still writing, on 09/08/2007 from rural San Diego County.