For me the silver lining in my husband’s illness and also in my father’s year-long hospitalization for a stroke was discovering the kindness of strangers — now that’s something I can write a book about. We tried to keep a 24-hour vigil by by Dad’s bedside because the care at the hospital was so bad. Needless to say this was exhausting. But people we didn’t know brought us hot, home-cooked meals and even arranged for us to nap in a vacant room. When one of us couldn’t stay the night, a charitable org would send volunteers. These were people who worked all day but nevertheless would offer to spend the night with a sick patient.
When my Dad died I was there alone and –sorry this is a bit morbid– I wouldn’t let them the orderlies take him away. He wasn’t going anywhere without me! The attendants told me to get out of the way. I started to cry. A stranger who was standing nearby watching all this came over to me and asked if he could help in some way, get me something to eat, maybe, or a ride home. That was very nice.
When dear husb got PC I asked for and got a lot of good information about doctors, health insurance and other important issues from various charitable orgs that specialize in these things.
Finally, when husb was operated on, a religious org gave us the use of a beautiful hotel suite 5 minutes from the hospital so that I wouldn’t have to make the 2.2. mile trip from home by public transportation (the traffic is horrible). That was a godsend! Husb’s op was on a Saturday, and so the entire surgical unit was closed. The lights were even out in the waiting room. So my friend and I went and had lunch on our little patio while the surgery was being done. I ended up staying in the hotel for 3 days because they kept DH in the hospital a little longer. I really needed that vacation.
Too bad it took a couple of serious illnesses to make me realize how good people can really be.