This is a difficult time for everyone involved in the injured person’s life. It will take a lot of strength and creativity to be of support for your friend.
Try to visit, call, send letters or email often, even if your injured friend doesn’t respond. He or she needs to know that you are still there for them. I knew that so many of my friends were supporting me and it motivated me to get better so I could spend time with them. The fact that some of my friends just disappeared when I got injured was very disappointing, however this not just happened to me, it happens to most people with spinal cord injuries.
Many friends disappear because they don’t know how to be a friend anymore because they’re confused and scared. Don’t be scared. Remember that your injured friend is still the same person he or she was before their injury. The only thing that makes them different now is their body. Many of the interests you had in common before, you can still share now – past memories – especially the funny ones.
There are many different moods that a newly injured person experiences and many of them are negative. He or she may be insecure and feel unwanted in their new condition, and may push you away. Make your injured friend feel as comfortable as possible. Your friend may not want to see you or talk to you when you visit. Don’t take this personally. You didn’t do anything wrong. He or she still likes you, this is just a difficult time in your friend’s life. Bottom line, be patient.
Before you go and visit your friend in the hospital, make sure you have a whole arsenal of fun things to talk about and to do. Bring news of other friends, movies to watch, games to play. Tell your friend how much better they look each time you see them.
Take your friend out with you when possible. Let them know that you are not ashamed to be seen with a handicapped person. Get to know how to take care of them. This really tells them that you feel comfortable being around them.
Go to our main page and click on your friend’s injury level on the spinal column graphic to learn more about their new life.
Josh with friends while in the intensive care unit. 8/04
For a newly injured person, this is a free web page for the family to post information and updates about the person’s health. By using this, you don’t have to make or receive constant phone calls to let your loved ones know of your health status.
“Creating a CaringBridge site is easy. Complete 3 simple steps, and you’ll have an active site in just 5 minutes.
Step 1 – Give us some basic information about yourself and your loved one.
Step 2 – Choose a site style that fits your needs.
Step 3 – Select privacy settings for your CaringBridge site.”
(As a friend you can either notify the family of this web site or set the web site up yourself, remember this is a free web page service)
I consider the first few months of my injury as the toughest months of my life. Overcoming this first obstacle is difficult but with the help of friends and family, this obstacle becomes a memory of the future to move forward from.