DEAR ABBY: Please remind your readers that if and when an accident or disease transforms an active, involved person into a housebound, sedentary victim of ill fate, that person desperately needs the warmth and caring of friends and neighbors. Even the smallest kind deed can turn moments of sorrow into meaningful moments of joy.
On behalf of the many tens of thousands of individuals in our country who are involuntarily housebound, I would like to plead with those friends and neighbors: COMMUNICATE! By phone, through a brief note, a drop-in visit -- if only for a few minutes.
My beloved wife has been housebound for a little over two years. Because of her illness, she requires oxygen 24 hours a day. For her, a walk to the back yard is an adventure. When she's able to take one, we always take along the portable phone -- in case someone calls. It would be a small tragedy to miss a call.
When that phone rings, and a familiar voice says, "Hi!" her conscious struggle for breath seems to almost miraculously disappear.
I hope I have made my point. Be a friend to a friend or relative in need. Abby, please do not use my name or location, but do share this message with your readers. -- CONCERNED HUSBAND
DEAR CONCERNED HUSBAND: Your message is well worth passing along.
When someone is stricken with a serious illness, it's common for friends and family to experience feelings of guilt or to feel at a loss for words. Unable to cope with the discomfort, they react by distancing themselves at a time when their support is needed most.
In situations like this, act with the same generosity and compassion you would wish from others were the situation reversed. Rather than dwell on the illness, keep uppermost in mind that the sufferer is still your friend -- with the same interests, sense of humor and values. Focusing on that should make communication easier.
The attention is almost always welcome. Coping with chronic illness is difficult enough without having to endure isolation, too. Reach out -- you'll be glad you did.