April 30, 2012 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: Sister, co-workers neglect patient

Kathy Mitchell
 

Dear Annie: Last June, I retired from the company where I had worked for 25 years. This past January, I had an accident that resulted in a broken foot and surgery on one ankle. I was in the hospital for four days and in a rehab facility for a month. During my convalescence, I kept in touch with co-workers by email, text and Facebook. I also told my sister where I was and how long I would be there.

My husband visited every day, and my 93-year-old father called frequently. However, you’d think with all the people I know, some of them would have made an effort to contact me. Since returning home, I’ve received exactly one Facebook message asking how I’m doing. What hurts the most is that my sister has neither called nor come by.

I want to tell my sister how I feel, but my husband says to forget about it. I am still undergoing physical therapy, and my husband, who has his own limitations, has to lift a wheelchair out of the trunk every time he takes me anywhere. He does all of the household errands and grocery shopping. No one offers to help either of us.

I am so full of anger and dismay that it is impacting my emotional recovery. What should I do? – Alone and Not Liking It

Dear Alone: We agree that your sister is being unsupportive, but you are not “alone.” Focus on those who are in touch and helpful – your husband, your father, your sister-in-law, niece, neighbors and out-of-state friends. That’s more than many people have. And some folks have no idea that you want help or what you need unless you tell them. Post recovery updates on your Facebook page, and say how much you appreciate any words of encouragement. Call your sister and ask (nicely) whether she could pick up some groceries for you. We hope, when given a specific opportunity to step up to the plate, she will come through.


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