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My Friend's Husband's Illness

Discussion in 'Friends & Neighbours' started by nayidulhan, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. nayidulhan

    nayidulhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Friends,

    I am facing a strange dilemma. My daughter goes for a class twice a week and I have made friends with a lady whose son comes for the class there. Over the last few months, we have grown considerably close. However, I knew her as well as her husband’s families’ background for several years now (we are from the same town shifted to the same city).

    She is working part time in the mornings and her husband is a reputed doctor. A couple of months back her husband developed a lump in the head. So they (the couple) went to a big reputed hospital for treatment. They had stayed for over a fortnight for the treatment. When they came back, she told me about their experience and said that she was thankful that the tumor is not malignant. I gave her all the emotional support I could give.

    Just yesterday, a senior doctor under whom this friend’s husband works, mentioned to a close relative of mine (since this senior Dr came to know about our friendship) that his is actually a strange kind of bone cancer and that he has only 7-8 more years of life. He also mentioned that all the concerned doctors know the case well and have come to the same conclusion. He also said that the young Dr (my friend’s husband) must be aware of all this (being a Dr himself) but his family, including his wife, know absolutely nothing about the seriousness of his illness.

    My friend is a lady of few words. She doesn’t have too many friends that she’s close with but for some reason, we have grown quite fond of each other. And this fact has been really painful for me to handle. I have lost my sleep from yesterday.

    On the one hand, I feel she should know everything so that she does not get a shock later. So that she can plan her and her little son’s lives accordingly… to make as many memories with the husband/ father. On the other hand, I know this news will break her completely (any loving wife will not be able to face such a scenario). What should I do? I cannot tell her that I know the fact but I want her and her son as well as her husband to live as good a life as possible under the prevailing tragic circumstances. How should I go about it? On one side, I feel I should not directly interfere. That I should just pray, pray and pray a lot for a miracle for my friend’s husband’s long & healthy life. On the other hand, I feel I should give her hints about spending more time with him, fulfilling all the dreams they aspire for themselves, etc. God! I am really confused. Please guide me.
     
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  2. kcb

    kcb IL Hall of Fame

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    My suggestion is, don't tell anything to her. It is her Husband's responsibility to handle this. More than you he knows about his wife and how to handle the situation with her. Hopefully he is already in that process of preparing his wife for the future.
     
  3. yellowmango

    yellowmango IL Hall of Fame

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    Don't say anything.
    It is difficult but it is not your decision to make.
    He will know when to tell his wife and child.
    He must have a reason not to tell right now.

    I sympathize with your dilemma....it is tough to be in your position.
     
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  4. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Why did this senior Dr disclose such details to your relative (R)? Hopefully, he had a good reason. If he did it just because R is your close relative and you are a close friend of that family.. it is extremely poor judgement.

    If this senior Dr is aware that the wife/family know absolutely nothing, why did he go and blab about that to your relative!

    Anyway, you are not answerable for the Sr Dr's actions. The point is that you will have to disclose how you got to know the news, if you bring up the topic with her. When your friend and her husband realize that the Dr(s) are being indiscreet with such sensitive details, it will cause them more pain than any relief your words can bring. So, for now, don't say anything. Just be there for her. Be as normal as you can be.

    Chances are she knows, and they prefer to keep things this way to protect their child for as long as they can.

    You want to help her, and you are thinking hard on how best. That is what good friends do. Harder than the actual helping, is deciding what will help. A good rule of thumb is to let this be about her/them, and not about you/your sadness and desire to help. Before offering any help, think twice whether it will help them feel better or you.

    You are a good friend. In times like this, such friends can be invaluable.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
  5. Shreema86

    Shreema86 Platinum IL'ite

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    A doctors diagnosis is not the word of god. Plenty of people who have been given few months to live have lived on for many years . Spontaneous remission of cancer where the person heals without any treatment is very much real and happens . I know this might be controversial idea to many but all diseases arise from our mental state. So in short, telling them about it , a big no no. I am sure that they have learnt to make the best of life from the last experience
     
  6. sbonigala

    sbonigala Platinum IL'ite

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    Certain professions are expected to maintain confidentiality. Medical profession is one among them.
    Whether it is a serious illness or just a headache, the medical test results are expected to be between the medical team and the patient and or patient's family but not to be discussed with anyone else. It hurts to know that our health records and medical condition are known to everyone but us.

    I have a feeling that your friend's family already know this and they chose not to disclose any details about this. They may find it hard to handle the sympathy that comes with disclosing or discussing the situation and they may not be comfortable with the looks they may get from people ( those "oh you poor thing" kinds looks).
    Also he being a doctor himself can read and understand the reports and the outcomes and his wife and himself would have started looking for alternative treatments.

    Now that its disclosed to your relative and you, the best you can do is to support your friend in all possible ways. She may get frustrated, might be moody, may not be her usual self - forgive her at all times and just stand by her in all good and bad times. We shall pray for her.
     
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  7. happydheivanai

    happydheivanai Silver IL'ite

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    Dont Worry dear and dont tell to ur friend also..

    my advice is just ask your husband friend to check with some best doctors and get the opinion before coming to conclusion after getting the 2nd and 3rd opinion we can think about informing to the wife ect ...
     
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  8. nayidulhan

    nayidulhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Friends,
    I am in a strange situation. This friend lost her husband. A few things that I feel the reader should know beforehand...
    1) I interacted with the Senior Doctor a few days back. He is a deeply spiritual and humane person. He talked to me how "preparing" for any situation is important. One thing he said that haunts me even now is that when we are fully aware that although the time and place are unpredictable, death per se is inevitable. Why do we then still break down when we lose a dear one? Because we are not emotionally prepared, he said.

    2) This friend and I would interact very regularly but we never discussed anything about her husband's illness. I feel she was never comfortable doing that with anyone. She would only mention that the future is uncertain and that she thinks that she's not capable of raising her child single handedly. Several members of our community and common friends had come together and deposited cash in the bank A/c to support this family (my friend was aware of this) but absolutely nobody (not even my friend) mentioned anything to me. I was taken aback when I learnt this fact from a senior member of our community. I asked why I was not informed about this as I too would have liked to contribute and he mentioned to me that the whole community and especially my friend's late husband were of the opinion that the emotional support and affection I extend to my introvert and not so confident friend is priceless. That what I do for her and her family cannot be equated in $$. I had no answer to that.

    3) Whenever we talked, she would ask me questions (to start a discussion/ conversation) about the cause-effect, reason and purpose, etc etc and would generally end our talks saying that talking to me/ being in my company is the most reassuring for her.

    3) I had attended the funeral but she wasn't there. I was told that she is at her maternal home and has left strict instructions that she should not be visited by anyone. I respected that. I only wrote a short message to her saying that I am available in case she needs me for anything. She read the message after several days but there was no reply.

    4) I have been doing all that I had been doing for her before. I am coordinating her staff timings. I paid some of her bills that I came across. (I have done this off and on in the past and she would appreciate it.)

    There is absolutely no communication between us though. My dilemma is should I try to get in touch with her? On the one hand, I know that she is rarely vocal about her feelings and needs to be reached out to. On the other hand, I feel she needs time to grieve. What should I do?
     
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  9. nayidulhan

    nayidulhan Silver IL'ite

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    After much deliberation, I now want to get in touch with her over a message first. Then follow it up with a phone call or a visit. Could someone please point out the how of it all to me. I mean I want this to be comforting for her although knowing her well I expect her to take a very long time to come to terms with it all. What could I say to her? What else could I do for her?
     
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  10. PurpleRoses

    PurpleRoses Gold IL'ite

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    @nayidulhan I am sorry to hear abiut your friend's loss. And I really am glad to know there are friends like you who think and care so much. Your friend is lucky to have a friend like you.

    As you said she has always been a person of few words and an 'introvert'., she might have retreievd herself into a shell post her husband's demise.
    It's a very sensitive phase where you don't know whether to let her grieve in her own ways and space or fear for her mental wellbeing (read depression) if left alone by herself.
    How a person handles his/her grief/pain depends on his/her emotional maturity and nature.

    Since you know your friend better, view it from her thought process and you might get the lead on "how to approach" her and "when to"!.

    Get in touch with any of her relatives if you can to understand the situation she is in currently.
    If that's not possible, safest way is leave a voice message. Let the message be short, normal(avoid emotional wordings, especially don't show any sympathy as that might not be appreciated by many grieving through personal losses).
    Just let her know that you value her friendship and miss talking to her. Tell her that you respect her feelings and wouldn't want to talk about anything that upset her but if she needs , you are just a call away to hear her out.

    Wait for her response and don't message or attempt till you get response from her. Some may not be in the mental state to gather their thoughts and fall back to normal routine and frequent messages might irritate them more negatively.

    Take care! And really, I wish we had friends like you who cares so much like a family member. God bless you and God bless your friend and give her strength to deal with her loss!
     
    nayidulhan likes this.

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