… her father’s bedside in a hospital in Manhattan. Her parents and older sister emigrated from Cuba legally in the 1950s. Cuban Diva BFF is an American-born, lifelong New Yorker — Manhattan, baby! — with all the style and culture that implies. She is a fiscally conservative Republican in darkest blue Manhattan. Really, it’s like being in the French Resistance. Hollywood MIGHT be worse — maybe.
But her father is 84 and going into surgery at 11:30 am EDT for necrotizing fasciitis in the groin. This is his second surgery — they want to ensure they removed all the infected tissue from his surgery on Easter Sunday, when he was admitted. Later there will be plastic surgery. I have her permission to write this and ask for prayers and positive thoughts for her father and mother and her family.
FYI, when you have a loved one in this kind of situation, if you are a calm and positive person, spend every minute at the hospital at their bedside that you can. Lift every chore from the staff that you can — like cleaning up stuff that falls on the floor. (You do NOT want a nurse to contaminate her hands picking up trash — that’s why this is housekeeping’s job.) Make yourself part of the solution. Just being there supports your loved one emotionally and spiritually and makes a huge positive difference.
Also, if you are in this situation, put as many bouquets of flowers around your loved one as you can. It wasn’t something I could do for Margaret — we didn’t have the money — and whenever she was hospitalized I saw how differently her roommates with lots of flowers were treated. The nurses always smiled more and spoke more often and more cheerfully to the patients with flowers. Cards, balloons and stuffed animals do not have that effect.
And do nice things for the nurses. My ex-sister-in-law is a nurse and I have plenty of stories about how hard they work under difficult circumstances. I suggest getting deli sandwich platters and deluxe flavored ground coffee, too, if you can manage it, for each of the three shifts. Sweets and pastries are not as wholesome, but the sandwiches platters are a godsend for nurses who didn’t have time to pack a meal before going to work. Plus, it saves them time and money getting their own.
You are not bribing the nurses and staff to get better care for your loved one. They will all do the best they know how no matter what. But your appreciation and practical support do help the staff do a better job for everyone in their care just because you made their lives pleasanter and easier that shift.
Update: Cuban Diva BFF called tonight and said her father is doing much better.