How do you help friends in need? With weed? Indeed.

Thursday night, I got a text from a couple I adore. I love going over to their house. They know how to throw down. The man part of the couple turnt (I’m hep!!!) 50 and they invited me over Friday for his birthday party. Why I gotta have an incision?

I was so upset. But I’m not allowed to drive, or do much, and they live maybe 15 minutes away. “Don’t worry,” they said. “We’ll get together soon.”

I know we will. But I wanted to right THEN. Have they met my impulse control?

The next day I got a text from my neighbor, R. She and her husband were headed to this really beautiful little town about 30 minutes from here, to go see a documentary. Did I want to go with them?

Dang my uterus.

And that is why, Saturday night, against my stern doctor’s strict important orders, I showered, put on makeup, even put on pants—PANTS! And drove to the next block where another neighbor was having a party.

I hadda get out, man. I was FOMOing at the mouth. I figured since it was so close to my own house, I could pop in there and as soon as I started to feel bad I could go home.

The photo at the top of this scintillating post is my pants at the party. I didn’t want to take pictures of people and then pop it up on this extraordinarily popular blog and expose their faces to the world, so I sneaked into the coat room and took this picture. Naturally, someone walked in just as I was doing it and I looked like a crazy person. “I have a blog,” I said, which didn’t make me sound any more sane. Or current.

Me, now with pants!

The party was great. It was to celebrate my neighbor moving here a year ago. She has all sorts of interesting friends, and she even had a cake decorated like the logo of the mill that is the whole reason this little millhouse neighborhood exists.

I got there ridiculously early, because I asked some of you on Facebook of June what time you should attend a party that starts at 5:00, and most of you said about 5:15.

I was the third to arrive.

I cursed you all mightily, but talked to the few people who were there and you’ll be shocked to hear I let those people know that I had had surgery and that it was my first sojourn out of the house in 11 days.

Before long, other guests arrived, and had I gone with my instinct to get there at 5:45 I’d have arrived with them like how on sitcoms everyone walks in the door in a clump.

I hobbed and I knobbed, and finally I made my way back to the living room and saw that the mantle clock said 8 o’clock. “Look how well I did!” I said to the people I had met at the beginning of the party. “I stayed later than I thought I would!”

“That clock is wrong.”

Dammit.

Anyway, I stayed an hour and 45 minutes. I was tired when I got home but I didn’t feel so bad. Then Sunday I did feel kind of shitty, to tell you the truth. Kinda shaky. Damn this incision and curse it right. It cuts me to the quick.

But none of this is why I gathered you here. Since I have had nothing but time to convalesce during this, my convalescence, I have been noticing how many people have been being nice to me. Oh my God you guys, I have gotten food and presents and cards and flowers and of course my mother and stepfather flew all the dang way here, which by the way I remember almost none of.

Today on Facebook somebody said that when you’re in a predicament like the one I am in, you should make a list of the things you need done. Then when people ask what they can do, you can show them the list and they can pick something from it. I think this is brilliant.

So let’s talk about being helpful at times like this. [points microphone at you]

62 thoughts on “How do you help friends in need? With weed? Indeed.

  1. I’m not wealthy, so don’t imagine a gangster raining hundreds over here, but my favorite gift to people in crisis is cash.
    When I was laid up after an appendectomy, my favorite kindness was from a woman who brought me an entire casserole sized container of mashed potatoes. I couldn’t digest easily for a while, so food I could eat was like ambrosia to me. She was also one of the kindest people I have ever met.

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  2. I am ever so happy that you got to wear pants! I have a hard time accepting help, but I never turn down a meal. When I had twins and one was in the hospital for a while after birth, people kept my family alive. I SO appreciated it!

    I hope you continue to feel better and better!

    Lovely post, lovely June!

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  3. One last one. In following my hunches i have just dropped by unannounced. I know this sounds scary but every time the person has cried and told me that’s just what they needed. Of course, bring gifts.

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  4. The list is a fantastic idea. Whether it be things around the house, little things to pick up, like water or toilet paper at Costco; a good pizza from a good pizza place, or even picking up poop in the yard. Sure, the last one is shitty, but it’s necessary and at least one of your friends has a pooper scooper. 🤷‍♀️✔️

    There will always be someone who can’t, but many will. Let us locals help you with local things. 💜💜

    Like the pants and man sweater, btw

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  5. When I had surgery my small group at church organized a list of meals for three weeks. It was wonderful because my husband was running his business and had to work and didn’t have to worry about meals for us. My mom was able, at the time, to stay with me and she didn’t have to cook and was able to keep the kitchen cleaned and the laundry done, which I could not do. I still remember the two best meals, homemade vegetable soup and cornbread and grilled chicken with fresh squash and onions and a baked potato. The lady that brought the soup had an extra container to put in the freezer for later.

    I was so thankful that my mom was able to help because there is no way I could have done laundry or changed the linens on our bed. It was exhausting just taking a shower and getting dressed. I didn’t realize this at the time, but my mom was putting my bath towel in the oven to warm it and would bring me a warm towel when I got out of the shower. I though she was putting the towel in the dryer. One day she forgot the towel, I asked what was burning, she pulled that towel out of the oven it had black rack marks on it and a very large, very scorched spot.

    I try to take a meal. I have a couple of chicken recipes that even kids like and vegetable soup is always good. June, if I was close I would make you some soup and cornbread, for now and later. When a close friend had a c-section I did grocery shopping for her and put the groceries away for her several times.

    I am a card sender to friends that have lost loved ones or are sick. I have a couple of co-workers (CoW TM Paula), fmr., that are battling very serious illnesses and I try to send them a card at least twice a month and between the cards I send them text messages to let them know I am thinking about them and always tell them if they feel like talking just give me a call. Occasionally, I will call them.

    Make a list of things that you want or need done around your house, as suggested, let friends that ask what they can do choose from your list. Don’t feel guilty. Friends want to help.

    I didn’t leave my house for a month after surgery. The ride home from the hospital was so painful I had no desire to get in a car.

    Tee

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  6. When my uncle was dying, I sent my aunt a care package from Amazon. I got her a teddy bear and some candy and some other stuff like warm socks and tea. Now he’s gone and she recently told me she still uses something I got her. So today I sent her some hand lotion from Amazon. She lives in a very small town outside Knoxville, TN and gift cards probably aren’t helpful. The grocery store there is an IGA and she doesn’t go out to eat. I also send my mom Amazon packages for fun. I’d send my mom groceries, but she gets automatic packages for her stuff. OH and I sent a package of pork from Iowa (where I lived) and she loved it! I didn’t know, but Fareway, an Iowa grocery store, has a website and they ship meat. Yummy.

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    1. I am late to the party. I expect there are a ton of great answers. Also? People seriously do not know what to do and don’t know how to ask. Here are some that may not be listed. Ask to have a record keeper of all things sent. Prepare thank you notes with the name and adress and stamp on the front. That way you can do a few a day and you will have a list of what they sent or did. Onv, someone you really trust, double check you on paying your bills. I had whole entire blank spots after my accident. Oh. Make a 1 point person for information updates. No one likes answering the same question 20 bazillion times. Have a designated person that is willing to let you call at any time. Any time. For pains or panic attacks, etc. If you feel up to it ask someone to set visit appts. Coffee or whatever for so many mins. Library runs. Still thinking…

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  7. I am at work but wanted to say I’m glad you’re on the mend! Also, I love those pants and you look great!!

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  8. People often don’t feel like getting up to drink after something like that. Make sure there’s water by the bedside and in the fridge.

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  9. The list is a great idea.
    It’s so nice that your friends are helping out.
    I had foot surgery and was off work for three months, many years ago. I don’t remember friends bringing food, probably because I’d filled a new freezer with meals and stocked up on everything else I thought I’d need for the first couple of weeks.
    I do remember one friend who brought stacks of library books, another who took me to the veedeeo store and my friend across the street who offered to walk my dog.
    I think she walked him twice.
    It was fun hobbling on crutches down my back stairs so he could do his bidness in the lane.
    My favourite was my tough biker neighbour who took me to the bank on his Harley, so I could deposit my unemployment cheques.

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  10. I don’t blame you for wanting to get out of the house. After I had about ten days of recovery from a similar surgery, my mom had to stop caring for me and go home. Literally ten minutes after she left (the ten minutes was to make sure she didn’t come back for something she’d left behind), I was in my car taking a little joy ride just to get out of the house. Every little bump made my organs flop around inside my body but it was worth it. At the time I was in my mid-twenties. If I had the same surgery now, I think I’d give myself at least another week before I left the house. I miss being mostly muscle and (other than the surgery) pretty healthy.

    Do you feel the organs moving around thing? Having seen the video that they made of my surgery, the doctors really poked and flipped everything back and forth for at least ten minutes. For about a month afterward, I would feel things sloshing themselves back into position. Sometimes something would move (due to a pothole on the road or just a quick movement on my part) and someone would hear me gasp and ask what was wrong. And I’d say, “Oh, it was just my liver (or spleen, stomach, etc.) jostling back into its spot.”

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      1. Huh. I couldn’t really feel my incision. Too much nerve damage I guess. It felt like I was wearing a rubber tube around my middle for years and there is still some residual nerve damage. I guess that means your surgery went better than mine but the short term irritation, pain, and nausea sound terrible.

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  11. I agree that it often takes a personal experience to realize you haven’t been doing enough. When my husband died 2 years ago I had so many people do thoughtful things for me that I vowed to be better to friends going through hard times and I think I have been, but there is always room for improvement. It is hard to know what to do/say. A card and a cupcake go a long way in just letting a friend know you are thinking of them. A pizza gift card is my go-to for friends who don’t live near me.

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  12. Our premature twins were born when we were at Seminary. The twins were in the NICU for 4 months and were at different hospitals in Dallas. We also had a 2 year old. A friend from seminary organized meals for us. They were brought for months upon months. I had no idea who most of the givers were and not a thank-you note was sent. We got an amazing chicken and rice casserole that included the recipe. I still have the original index card and I have taken it to so many families. Now my girls take it to their friends. I like the symmetry.

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  13. After my radical mastectomy last summer I was very grateful for two of my sisters who were able to come and stay with him (3 days each) as I live alone. Well, with two cats.
    The church ladies showed up with food which was much appreciated. If you are unable to help a friend with personal food delivery, UberEats gift cards are great!

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  14. I too lead with food. I once drove a woman’s daughter to school every day while she recovered from knee surgery. I like the website links that sometimes a close family member will send out that organize meals and give suggestions for what the people want to eat and what dietary restrictions folks have. That helps the in-firmed or grieving not be overwhelmed with a million meals at once.

    A few summers ago, a man who lived in my sisters neighborhood was driving back to Chicago from out west. I think they had just attended the college graduation of one of the kids. The mother had JUST passed away in May from a long battle with breast cancer. Anyway, they were hit head on and the dad was killed. The 3 kids were all college age or older, but now with no parents. A ‘sign-up-for-a-meal’ link went around and loads of people signed up whether we knew them or not. It was just so incredibly sad.

    June, as you rest up I hope you will read my blog post today. It is a hilarious, TRUE story of LESS than 6 degrees of separation. I won’t bug you about it again. Promise.

    http://www.nosmallfeetblog.com/2020/03/fellow-bloggers-where-were-you-81096-i.html

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  15. I feel helpless in this particular situation, when a friend is having surgery or facing a diagnosis and they live far away. I’m not a card sender. I try to be and have a whole drawer of cards I’ve bought with good intentions. When it’s people here I bring food. Usually 2-3 weeks after the incident and again 4-6 weeks after. I offer to clean house and will tidy up/wash dishes/let the dog out or in while I’m there.
    When I’ve had surgery I am mortified if anyone comes over. I look a mess, my house is a mess and I’m embarrassed. I feel like I have to host the person which I don’t want to do. I need to lower my own expectations and allow people to help.

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  16. I think it may take personal experience to realize how important paying attention to the needs of our friends and family can be. My husband was diagnosed with a chronic, life changing illness a number of years ago and we had one close friend who faithfully called, dropped by with food, asked for specific ways she could help, rode with me to and from the hospital just to keep me company, picked up my kids, etc. The rest of our friends were… invisible. I didn’t think it was for lack of caring – they just didn’t know how to be helpful. Or perhaps they just thought we’d rather be left alone. I learned a lot from that experience.

    Some things I find people appreciate: gift cards for a meal that they can order or carry out (great for when those “here’s a casserole” types stop showing up), offer to run errands, say “hey I’m headed to the grocery store, what do you need?”, “I’m coming over to walk your dog” or “I”m going to the park, I’ll stop and get your kids”, pop in and visit for a few minutes and then say “tell me three things that need attention while I’m here – I can vacuum, dust, unload dishes, throw in a load of laundry, organize refrigerators (aka let’s dump or freeze all the casseroles that you’ll never get to before they go bad)…”, In general I try to imagine what might be making me crazy if I were laid up or otherwise occupied. When my friend had a hysterectomy, I went over once a week and changed all her beds – for months. Abdominal surgeries take time to recover that core strength for bending and lifting. Take out the trash, grab the mail, scoop the dog poop, water plants… the better you know someone, the easier it is to think of ways to help, but generally we all know the chores that need doing.

    I love the list idea. It can be hard to ask directly for help (I admire people who are good at it) but if you can say “Oh, I did write some things down that I was hoping to get to eventually…” it would be simple for someone to choose from the list. You could even offer to help your friend write the list if they aren’t even up for list writing.

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  17. True Story: (Jesus, Paula, GET TO WORK.). When my daughter was born, the local Church Ladies came to visit, unannounced. I was home with an infant and a two-year-old, who defined The Terrible Twos. (Now he defines The Terrible Thirties.) (I kid.) The Church Ladies did not bring a casserole or anything, they brought a three-foot ceramic (?) china (?) (BREAKABLE) statue of the Virgin Mary. They wanted that statue to stay in my house for a month to bless the new baby. I politely explained to the two old dears that my son would have Mary airborne in minutes, that she would become a cruise missile, that he would try to ride her around the house, see if she could take the stairs like a toboggan. What possessed the Marian Guild or whoever to think a mom with an infant and a two-year-old would also like to keep an eye on a sacred breakable statue? They took Mary back with them and I hope the next unsuspecting mom got a tater tot casserole instead.

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        1. In my experience, it was a meal in our Midwestern church basement for kids in junior high to eat on Wednesdays between Chatechism class and evening youth group. Delicious. My kids enjoyed it sans church, even when I finally started adding vegetables to it.

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            1. Same church basement is also where I ate pheasant for the only time in my life. And yes, it tasted just like chicken, but wasn’t comfort food like tater tots casserole.

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          1. Dammit–catechism, not chatechism. Chatechism is where you sit around and chat about schisms in the church.

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      1. Ground beef and chopped onion browned, add a can of cream of mushroom soup and half a can of water, and a drained can of green beans. Put in a casserole dish and cover with the tater tots, still frozen. Bake. It is quite tasty, True comfort food.

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      2. Didn’t someone once sign you up to a Duggar family newsletter or some such? They used to be big into tater tot casserole. If there is ever a reason to shun the tot, it’s their love for it.

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        1. Tater tot casserole is so good! I have even made a chicken tater tot casserole in addition to the beef one that is equally as tasty!

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          1. Ah, I don’t do meats, & I’ve never had a Tatortot, so my only frame of reference is a Duggar gelatinous & greasy tray bake. Clearly you are a better chef than 19 indentured children. I don’t even think we have Tatertots over here. Even before Brexit meant we have to queue for bread in our ragged clothes & clogs. Deprived I tells ya.

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  18. Happy to hear you got out of the house! After having 3 kids via c-section and variety of surgeries to put me back together in different ways, I always appreciate a good meal brought to my house. I have a fabulous circle of friends that rally around each other to bring soup, casseroles, pizza or whatever works best for the giver. I have a signature Italian wedding soup recipe that you would have had in your kitchen if we were close in proximity. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to bring something or mention it and you’ll have freezer meals for days! Happy healing and your hair looks really good from one curly girl to another. 🙂

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  19. The honey-do list is a great idea. When I had the whooping cough it was radio silence from folks I knew (friends, church folks, etc.) It was hurtful, and I was sick for several months. It was so icky. So, in the spirit of being helpful, here’s some ideas:

    * drive & stay with you for shorter appointments (nails, hair, doctor)
    * grocery/drugstore/library pickups
    * doing laundry & cleaning
    * getting the wine & snacks, bringing them over, and staying awhile
    * pet stuff
    * go on walks with you (Edsel, opt.)
    * anything else that satisfies your wishes

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    1. This is a great list of things to help! I had the same experience when I broke my foot. I was on crutches and you can’t even get yourself a bowl of cereal. I could have used some help.

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  20. One of my best friends, who lives about four hours from me, just told me this AM that her 77-year-old husband tried to drown himself in their pool last week. Y’all, I am a retired medical social worker, this is what I did on an almost daily basis, but, having been out of the loop for over two years, I felt helpless to offer her real, local alternatives for care. He does have an appointment with his doctor today. She thinks it will make him worse to be hospitalized, and, given the options in that area, I couldn’t disagree. This man worked until he was 75. Has no real interests and is just lost. He also had heart surgery last year and both parents had Alzheimer’s, so there is real concern where his condition will lead. I will be in that town next week and don’t know what I can best do to help her with this.

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    1. I know this sounds weak but never underestimate the power of presence. Kind eyes, soul deep understanding which you seem to have, and running a load of laundry are so necessary. Be there for her.

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  21. However, to answer your question, I try to wait until the initial hubbub dies down. Everyone tends to do something right away, but sometimes the recovery or grief period is longer. My cousin needed a bone marrow transplant and her sister (another cousin, duh) was a match. Surgery was done, everyone was fine, but the donor had a much longer recovery period than the donee. I don’t know why. Ask Meredith Grey. At first I sent a card to both of them twice a week. Then down to once a week. For months. I started to question my own sanity as to why the hell I was sending so many cards for so long (this was years ago, before email and texting). Then I saw my cousins at some event and the donee cousin made a point of telling me how much she appreciated those cards. She said some days she just didn’t feel like even moving, but maybe my card was getting there today, so she would get up and schlep out to the mailbox. And once she was up and moving, she would feel better.

    My aunt has been in the hospital/rehab for several years now. At first, I sent cards every week and enclosed written stories I remembered from when we were all younger, things to make her laugh. Well it’s been several years now and I am out of stories. But I still send a card at least every couple of weeks, and some kind of cheery package if there’s a holiday (St. Patrick’s Day is tough. Not a lot of green things to choose from unless you include travel size Listerine. Or frozen peas.). She is not healthy enough to call or text, so I am again reliant on the old-fashioned post office. What absolutely slays me is that my cousin (her daughter, neither of the two cousins above) tells me that I am the only one sending anything to her. What the actual fuck is that about? That makes me hate the entire rest of my family. I have OTHER COUSINS, one of whom lives in a MELON-FARMING MANSION AND HAS MONEY TO BURN; she can’t send a GODDAMN CARD?

    I seem to have gotten off-point here. Also my comment is TL/DR. Sorry about that. Maybe WordPress knew I was going to be wordy today and that’s why the comments weren’t working.

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    1. Melon Farming! I am so stealing that. You crack me up Paula H&B and you are also a gem of a relative. Kudos to you for brightening other’s dark days.

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      1. She has sent me two magnificent cards and I happen to know she is also sending me some of my romance magazines. Paula must be darkening the doorstep of the post office on the daily.

        >

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        1. June, June, June. Post Office? Pffft. I order postage stamps online. I have an account with USPS so I can print out labels and leave packages in the mail room in my office building. (And those magazines are coming directly from the seller, so let me know if they arrive in less than satisfactory condition. I do love leaving a scathing review when warranted.) And I must be Current Catalog’s best customer, buying cards in bulk!!

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    2. My Uncle Leo has had three brain operations in his life. The grandmother I’ve turned into, who is in no way related to him except by in-law status, sent him a bunch of mysterious cards after the first one and my Aunt Kathy became inflamed with jealousy thinking some chick desired him.

      It was so nice of her. Grammy, I mean.

      I’m sorry to report there was no bitch fight between Grammy and a Kathy.

      Anyway, that is just your love language. Maybe the other relatives do something else that’s nice. Maybe they call. Can she talk on the phone? Does she still have her original home? Maybe they go rake the lawn. I don’t know. I’m just saying I’m bad at sending cards. It just doesn’t dawn on me except at Christmas. But I try to do nice things in my own way.

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      1. Her sister moved into her home. And that’s the other aunt I like. (There’s another in a facility and I hope she is left to sit in her own festering urine for days, that miserable bitch.) The aunt that moved into her home has her own health issues, so I send her stuff, too.

        Maybe I send cards and gifts because it is easier for me than hauling my fat ass out to visit them. Oh good, MORE GUILT for Lent. I really should go see them, at least the one in the hospital/rehab. Sigh.

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  22. I’m all about bringing food. For years I brought dinner and dessert, then a nutritionist friend got a brain tumor and complained during recovery that they kept getting meals for 4 and dessert for 20 and the proportions were off. Now I bring dinner and also some breakfast food or snacks for non-dinner time instead of dessert. I’m sure there are kids out there with parents recovering from surgery who would rather have the brownies though.

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  23. When I had cancer (twice!), and yet still had three boys to feed, I most appreciated people who showed up with a bucket of chicken.

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    1. As I lie here during this, my convalescence, I have been thinking about people who had kids and things like that. People who are in the predicament I’m in but absolutely must get up and lift their baby or what have you. I don’t know how anyone does it. It’s all I can do to lie here listlessly.

      >

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      1. My sister had her gall bladder taken out when her second son was a baby. Her surgery was the easier one but as the surgeon told her husband it’s still a huge deal internally. He had to step up to the plate and be far more hands on for a bit. I was working full time when she had it done.

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      2. When I had Thing 1 (C-section), my in-laws showed up the day after I got home from the hospital to lend a hand for a week. I had PPD and their presence actually made it worse. But I just could not sit around with my FIL ordering my MIL around and taking control of my TV so for my own sanity, I put my son in his stroller and headed out the door to take walk around the block. And yes, it hurt. But there was no way I could just sit around. My MIL was absolutely appalled. She was of the school of thought that new mothers stayed housebound for at least a month after giving birth. If I had stayed housebound while my in-laws were there, I would have gone batshit crazy and quite possibly homicidal. But that walk and being outside in the fresh air worked wonders for me and my sanity. And I was able to let my in-laws know that I was okay if they wanted to go back home (please leave, please leave).

        Also, the elastic belly band they gave me was a godsend. Without it, I just knew my stitches were going to split open and my guts would fall out. I wish I still had it ha ha.

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    2. I was in bed for weeks with a broken pelvis and no one brought ME a bucket of chicken. That’s brilliant!

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  24. I put this on FB when the comments were being persnickety, but I will share it here as well, because what mother doesn’t enjoy more shame?

    After reading your post, I am completely horrified at what a horrible mother I was (am) because my son had his appendix out (years ago)(not laparoscopically, the old-fashioned way with an incision), and maybe ten days later we went to Hershey Park. WITH RIDES. AND WALKING ALL DAY. IN THE HEAT. Now I’m wondering why things didn’t burst open and intestines didn’t fly out. To be fair, he said he felt fine but he was twelve and would’ve chosen RIDES and FUN over CAUTION. As he does to this day, which, apparently, is the monster I created. Thankfully, this is the season of Lent, so you will find me over here, atoning.

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    1. My son had the same surgery at 9 years old. Ruptured appendix no less. After 9 days in the hospital he BEGGED us to let him play in his hockey game after being home for just a few days and we stupidly agreed – I mean, he must know how he feels, right? HE WAS NINE OH MY GOD.

      He ended up with a badly infected incision and pancreatitis that landed him back in the hospital for 11 more days. Needless to say, my Mother of the Year trophy was recalled.

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