From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Patients Need Patient Advocates

When illness strikes a loved one, our lives are transformed. Almost immediately, our priorities change. Money is no longer a consideration, prior plans are cancelled, and our daily routines become scrambled. Over the past year, I've spent some time visiting friends and relatives in nursing homes, hospitals, psychiatric facilities and at home in their sickbeds. Through these experiences, I've learned a few valuable lessons.

These stages will come and go at different points in the recovery process. There will be periods of optimism and times of pessimism. These stages will also be experienced by those who care for the patient. When someone we love is hurt or sick, we also go through periods of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Its helpful to recognize these stages, and not minimize or repress them.

Years ago, I came upon a poem which I can only paraphrase now, but it went something like this. "When I broke my leg, you sent me flowers. When I wrecked my car, you sent me funny cards to cheer me up. When I had pneumonia, you cooked me chicken soup. But when I had my nervous breakdown, you never even called".

ęCopyright, 1994, 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated October 17, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.