Anatomy of a True Friend

Okay, so I want you to imagine that your friend is stuck in hospital following surgery/having treatment. It’s more than likely that they are ‘bored out of their brains’ and missing family and friends, and the normal routine of life. They’re also probably ‘tired out of their brains’ having tossed and turned in bed all night (that is, if they’ve been lucky enough to get allocated a bed) while everyone else in the ward snored the night away. What do they have to look forward to in the day? The next meal? – I don’t think so. The next session of doctor’s rounds? – definitely not. Maybe some horrible procedure? – no thank you. Let’s face it, it’s a pretty awful experience being in hospital and the days can be interminably long.

So what’s the best thing you can do to brighten up your friend’s life? They may not be well enough to want to receive visitors. But I can bet your bottom dollar that they’d like to receive some text messages from you. For less than €1 a day you can make a huge difference to someone’s day.

When I was in hospital being barrier nursed in isolation because of an MRSA infection, I nearly went out of my mind with boredom. I had a wonderful friend who supported me through those lonely days by sending regular text messages. My friend was on holiday beside the sea at the time. Instead of quizzing me in her texts about my state of health, she sent lovely descriptions of the wildlife she could see in the early mornings, or maybe even some detail of food she’d found in a market or perhaps news of people she’d met on her travels. It was fantastic to have this distraction from my monotonous existence in hospital. It was a vital link with the outside world. If I was feeling too ill/tired to receive a call I’d turn my phone onto ‘silent’ and then it was always a lovely surprise to find a message waiting when things looked up again. I was a friend ‘in need’ and she was a friend ‘indeed’!

So, the next time you hear that a friend/loved one has been hospitalised, don’t get stunned into silence. Go on! Be a true friend and brighten up their day with a text message. It could turn out to be a lifeline.

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