Taking care of a spouse can be an honor, but it is certainly not always easy. I know my spouse is the first person I want by my side when I need anything, but providing proper and constant care when your significant other is injured and in need can be a daunting task. Studies have shown that the status of your relationship with your partner can actually affect your overall physical health, which is why it is so important to provide what you can for them when s/he is injured or ill. Ensuring s/he is getting the accurate dosage of any medication, is well fed and nourished, and overall, comfortable are some of the responsibilities one will have while caring for another. If you are about to undertake this task, here are a few tips to help you keep your head straight during this trying, but hopefully rewarding, time.
Medication – This could be your single most important responsibility as a temporary caretaker. Whether your spouse is taking temporary pain medication or beginning a lifelong dosage of a particular drug, the correct dosage and timing is imperative. Because none of us can remember everything we need to, devices have been created to help us out. I don’t use any one in particular, but I’m sure “there’s an app for that.” But, really, you don’t need anything as fancy as an app. A simple reminder on your phone is sufficient. You can set it to go off as often as you need, and it will be specific about what you are being reminded to do. If your spouse’s medication schedule is regular (morning and evening doses) a pill box can be just as effective. In addition to being the person responsible for ensuring the proper medications are actually taken, you may also need to assume the responsibility of the questioner at any and all doctor appointments. Your under-the-weather better half is probably not up to the challenge of remembering all of the necessary details regarding medication from the doctor; being the one to ask questions about how much, when, and why all medication is being taken. When your spouse has these questions later, you can be armed with the answers.
Nutrition – Even when we are down with a cold, our appetites seem to fly out the window. Apply that feeling to being injured and cooped up in the house for days or weeks on end and the problem becomes amplified. When we are sick, it’s okay to miss a couple of days of eating per our normal habits, but when this cycle becomes prolonged, we run the risk of depleting our nutrients and lacking the calories we need to function at our peak. While your spouse is on pain medication and simply feeling down, it is your job to come up with creative ways to get him/her to eat. Make a favorite meal, order something special like chocolate covered strawberries from Shari’s Berries, or order take-out from one of your favorite date night spots. Any of these things are sure to change the mood of the injured party, and a happy person will be much more willing to eat.
Comfort – Be sure you consider the injury your spouse has as you attempt to make them comfortable. If it is a foot injury, it may be nice to buy a comfortable, soft pair of slippers; something that will keep the feet warm but not exasperate any pain being experienced. A nice pair of pajamas is also a good item to have on hand for those days of lounging around the house. Your spouse will probably not feel like putting on regular clothes just to sit on the couch all day. A comfortable, yet presentable pair of pajamas is a great option. There may even be some great workout clothes he or she has wanted, and this would be a great present to surprise them with. Consider also their mobility – you may want to keep blankets at hand so they won’t have to get up unnecessarily because it is cold. These are just a few things to keep in mind and get your creative juices flowing. You know and understand what your spouse will likely need. Prepare for those things and do the best you can to meet those needs during this difficult time.
This time may be tough on both of you, but you will be able to get through this together. And remember to keep open lines of communication. The more you talk about your needs with each other, the easier the road to recovery will be for both of you. While this may not be a comprehensive list for all types of injuries, it is a good place to start to ensure basic needs are met. Try to enjoy the time you have to spend together, and get well soon!