I really don't know how we could have gotten through our son's critical illness without the amazing support of our family and friends.
There are some very practical things that I think friends and family can do to help. In our case, when our son was diagnosed with cancer; my husband and I were completely devastated. It had come out of the blue. A very close family friend wound up going down to the very important initial visits with our oncologist. He sat right in there with us in the meetings. He would sit there taking notes. The doctor was talking -- Imagine, we had just found out that our perfectly healthy son has a very aggressive form of cancer; we couldn't process it all. Now, we are sitting in an oncologist's office and he's starting to discuss his treatment plan, what might happen, and what we are going to have to do. He's going to be out of school, he can't go to school, he's going to have to spend his time in the hospital.
We really needed somebody, our own advocate, to sit there, write notes, and ask good questions. I am so grateful for our friend doing that for us because it really helped us in the initial part of treatment.
Another thing that was really helpful for me: There is so much paperwork when your child is going through a critical illness, insurance paperwork, treatment plans, prescriptions, prescription changes. It was a huge, jumbled mess. I was really, really grateful for my sister who came in and got us a file box and got a complete system to keep our paperwork filed. That was really important because we needed to talk to different specialists, and refer to them. Having it all right there, really helped me.
Another thing that was really helpful for us was food. We didn't have any food in the house because we were running all of the time. We had friends that cooked for us. Our school was fantastic. They did this, sort of, meals on wheels program for us, and every week, a different family would cook our meals for us and they would bring it to our home.
In spite of all this chaos, we were able to sit down and have this nice family dinner. Aside from it being something that we needed, food, it was so comforting to know that there were people out there thinking about us, and really cared about us.