Having the support of a family, friend, or loved one during a time of need can drastically improve one’s recovery. It can be very difficult to go through a life altering event, such as a spine surgery, without both physical and emotional support from someone that cares deeply about your wellbeing. As the caregiver, you may find yourself feeling frustrated, helpless, scared, or even angry with having to watch your loved one experience pain or discomfort.
Whether the patient is undergoing a spine surgery, injection, or experiencing a flare up of pain, start by asking this question: What can I do to help you get through this? Everyone copes with adversity differently. The only person who truly understands what they need in a time of distress is the person experiencing the pain or discomfort. By asking this question you have opened the doors for the patient to think about ways they can seek help from others. You may not be able to take away their pain, but you can support them in other ways to minimize extraneous sources of stress and anxiety. Go above and beyond to make this person smile or laugh. Always be a source of positivity and happiness for this person, and avoid focusing on the negative as much as possible.
Experiencing pain or discomfort can be extremely exhausting. Oftentimes a patient might feel too exhausted to educate themselves or absorb the information given by a medical professional. If you attend an office/hospital visit with your loved one, be educated! Bring a notepad to write down some notes from what you learn during your interaction with the medical practitioner. Ask the medical staff resources that are reliable for patient and caregiver education. Prior to an office visit, sit down with your loved one and make a list of questions you would like to ask. Knowledge is power and often a source of comfort during a stressful time!
Our goal at the Virginia Spine Institute is to aid in your recovery process and support you back to good health in the quickest way we can. In the event that the patient is experiencing frustration, stress, or anxiety from something regarding their medical care, give us a call! Never hesitate to reach out to our office with any questions or concerns. You won’t know unless you ask.
As a caregiver, you are also under an immense amount of stress in the effort to take care of your loved one. As a caregiver, it is essential that you take time to emotionally, mentally, and physically support yourself. Do not feel guilty for setting aside time to take care of yourself. For example, you may enjoy exercising with long walks or runs outside. Instead of feeling guilty if your loved one is not able to participate, encourage them that you are continuing to participate for those who can’t!
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Remind yourself that those who experience adversity are the ones strong enough to handle it! You will come out stronger in more ways than one.
Taking on the role of caregiver often can involve many different medical visits and time spend away from your normal routine to care for your loved one. Often, during the initial post-operative period you may also need to utilize the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If this is the case, after reviewing your needs with your employer and loved one please provide us any necessary paperwork so we can discuss this with you and complete it in a timely manner.
Reviewed by: Dr. Christopher Good, MD, FACS.