Recovering from surgery can be difficult and frustrating, but seeing a loved one struggle with recovering from surgery is equally frustrating. Feeling like there is little you can do is almost inevitable, but maybe a simple distraction from the pain might just be the best thing they need.

1.   Take Over Some Of Their Responsibilities

If your friend or loved one has a lot of responsibilities throughout their day-to-day life, and they are unable to take care of those responsibilities throughout their recovery, offer your help. Maybe they pick up their kids every Tuesday and Thursday from dance practice? Offer to take on that responsibility. If they have pets, you could offer to take care of them while your friend is still recovering. The simplest actions, such as feeding the dogs or taking them for a walk could be nearly impossible for your friend if they need to be on bed rest. A helping hand can go a long way, and your friend will appreciate you.

2.   Visit Them At The Hospital

Sometimes, shortly after surgery, the patient requires a hospital stay. If this is the case, make sure to call ahead and verify that they are allowed to have visitors and if so, make sure they are feeling well enough to see friends. Take time out of your day to pay them a visit. They are being taken care of at the hospital by trained nurses, but they may just need your company. You could try bringing something cheery like a magazine or a book or a small bouquet of flowers. All they need is a little distraction from what’s going on around them, even if it’s just for an hour. Try to keep the visit brief to allow them time to sleep and therefore have a speedy recovery.

3.   Be Strong For Them

When a friend goes into a complex surgery or has a difficult recovery, you have to remain strong for them. Prepare yourself mentally, and consider that your friend may look much different than usual. They may become very weak, pale, or even show signs of depression. This may be hard for you, but it won’t be as hard as it is for them to go through it. Be strong for them and offer them a shoulder to lean on. Be positive and don’t let them talk negatively about their recovery. Let them know you’ll be there no matter what they need.

4.   Make Yourself Available

When your friend comes out of a surgery and begins their recovery process, you are most likely to say “Just call me if you need anything.” But truth is, they won’t call you every time they need something, because they don’t want to bother you. Instead, call THEM when you’re on your way to the store and very casually ask, “Do you need anything? I could get your some groceries or toiletries, I’m already on my way to the store for myself anyway” this way, they won’t feel like they’re making you go out of your way to help them.

Another important thing to remember is if they DO call you because they are in need, make sure you are making yourself as available as possible. During the time of your friend’s recovery, keep your phone on you, or check on them by asking someone close to them how they are doing. If they call because they need something, as simple as it may be, try to be there to provide that for them.

5.   Distract Them

Often times it will be difficult to distract someone who is in pain and recovering from everything they are feeling, but it’s worth a try. If you can, go over to their place for a couple of hours and spend time with them… provide your company. Bring a few movies to watch together, or be ready to talk if they feel like blabbing away. If they are quiet instead, and rather you do the talking, converse with them as much as you can to keep them distracted. Just make sure you are talking only about positive things going on in your life. Your friend is going through recovery and is frustrated enough… they don’t need to hear about your bad breakup or how you just lost your job. Let them recovery fully before you fill them in.