Having A Good Support System
When you get diagnosed with an illness, like heart failure, it is always imperative that you have a support system. Having a support system is very important when you have heart disease, as well as other diseases, because it is hard trying to take care of yourself. It is hard to keep your spirits up especially when you are going through treatments or in the hospital.
I remember walking around the halls of the ICU and seeing a lot of patients in their rooms alone. Meanwhile people were in to visit me all day during visiting hours. Even during the heart transplant screening process, you have to have a support system or you may not be eligible for a heart transplant.
My support system and their roles in my heart failure journey
Support systems come in many forms - whether it’s your family, friends, neighbors, people from church, etc. For me, it was my family, friends, therapists, nurses, doctors, hospital staff, and even patients.
My immediate family
My parents and my immediate family were instrumental in being a part of my support system. My mom was definitely there for me to give me emotional support as well as baths when they were needed. She worked a full day at work and came to the hospital afterward to talk to the doctors and nurses to make sure I had everything needed. She was my advocate.
My dad would stay overnight with me in the hospital room so I was not by myself. He would also be there in the morning and sometimes during the day playing music for me to keep my spirits up. He also advocated for me as well.
My older brother who lives in New York would literally come down every weekend to sit in the hospital to visit me and bring me cheer and delicious fruit shakes. My younger brother worked overnight and was actually there with me when I was about to go down to have my heart transplant.
My extended family were great as well and they played an essential role in my recovery. When I was in the hospital, before the doctors knew I was in advanced heart failure, my cousin even stayed in the hospital with me overnight. She brought things that would make me feel better like a journal, coloring books, word searches, and crossword puzzles. One of my other cousins came to the hospital and did a makeover for me which was very important because she made me feel pretty. When you are sick and in the hospital, as a woman, it feels very special to be pampered. There are too many people and their deeds not mentioned above, but that does not mean their contributions went unnoticed.
Friends and acquaintances
Friends can also play a significant role in your recovery as well. The few people that I consider friends who came and visited with me in the hospital were very encouraging. One of my friends would bring me puzzles when I was home recovering and they would do puzzles with me. They would check on me mentally to see if there was anything else I needed.
People that I did not even know came and visited me in the hospital. Someone from my grandmother’s church, their neighbor heard I was sick, and even he came to see me. When I came home from the hospital my neighbors sent me things when they found out that I had been in the hospital.
Last, but not least, the hospital staff from the nurses to the food staff and even the sanitation workers. Even they play a significant role in the support system. For instance, I remember the woman who used to bring my food to my room always came in with a smile and positive words that would just brighten my days. I would always have encouraging conversations with the cleaning professionals as well. The phlebotomist would come in to draw my blood early in the morning and the X-ray tech. They would have conversations with me. Pretty much anyone that came into my room were very friendly and supportive.
Everyone's support system is different
Each one of these groups of people played a major role in not only my recovery but in my well-being. Having a support system is great and although I know that everyone does not have the same support systems, they come in all forms. For example, some people may have a significant other or companion, or a pet which is also a member the of family, who they go to for support. We each have different support systems and they look different all across the board.
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