It doesn’t matter how down I get about my own situation there is always something that comes along, slaps me in the face & wakes me up. Then I suddenly realize that really my own situation is not at all that bad. That happened today when my lovely cleaner announced what was troubling her. I knew there was something on her mind the moment she walked in the door. We’ve gotten to know each other quite well over the last three years & I now consider her a friend not just an employee. She is so reliable & good at what she does she now works for two of my friends. She is the hard working, salt of the earth type who would do anything for you, & on occasion I have called on her kindness. Her sadness today began last summer when her husband had a heart attack…
A hard working man & father of two boys, he was devastated when he learned he required surgery after his infarction. He recovered well but mentally struggled with not being active & going out to work. This finally returned not long ago, but both he, & my cleaner, noticed that he was more tired than usual, & his general health, & more noticeably his appetite, had deteriorated. This led to further investigations & time off work.
When she told me today what they’d found, my first thought was not of who will clean my bathrooms and muddy floors – far from it. I immediately asked her if she needed to go home, she should be with her family. But no, she needed some normality in her life because she had no idea what the future held & working kept her mind occupied; all of which I totally understood, but I only deal with chronic pain & not the prospect of my husband having a heart transplant!
My closest friend is a cardiac nurse, & another good friend who was a transplant coordinator & now also a cardiac nurse, so hopefully I can help by making sure that they get the support & information that they need. I have to confess it is something very alien to me, in all my intensive care nursing experience I never had to deal with this kind of condition. Of course, I have said that if there is anything we can do for her family all she has to do is ask. Her younger son is friendly with my boys, often spending school holidays at my house while she is working. Even if this is all I continue to do, it is something. I may be about to have surgery on my knee; she knew that before her world fell apart. She was quick to say that if there is anything she can do for me all I have to do is ask. She is the sort of person who will still go out of her way to help me even if her own life is in tatters – & she’ll be mad if I don’t ask her. How can I ever bring myself to ask for her help, my problems are NOTHING compared to hers.