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Compassion from friends abounds after frightening facial injury

My commitment to being positive got challenged recently when I tripped on a Bradenton sidewalk and smashed my face, requiring surgery to piece me back together. With bloodied eyes, facial disfigurement and swelling, I looked like Dracula reincarnated.

Yet, the experience reinforced how wonderful people can be and how individuals can make a difference in our lives. First, the surgeon, Dr. Nicholas Monsul, who on a Saturday morning, agreed to patch me up in his office instead of having to endure the emergency room. He even brought his two young boys to the office and set them up with crayons and coloring books, saying, “This is how they learn to help others.”

Because of my looks, I went into hibernation, afraid to frighten anyone with my face. Yet, people reached out to me in innovative ways that touched my soul and encouraged my healing.

Because of my looks, I went into hibernation, afraid to frighten anyone with my face. Yet, people reached out to me in innovative ways that touched my soul and encouraged my healing. I share their responses so that perhaps some day you might also choose to adapt a similar response.

▪  One friend offered a package of pineapple cores, because it is rich in bromelain and helps reduce bruising and inflammation. Who knew, but it seemed to help. Even the surgeon agreed.

▪  Another knocked on my door and unexpectedly left delicious homemade soup. Squash and spicy split pea soup replaced chicken soup!

▪  Some sent flowers instantly with touching notes that continuously brought smiles to my ailing body.

▪  Another hunted for the perfect humorous card and found one that depicted a cat totally bandaged saying a four-letter word comes to mind and inside it read, “hope and hugs.”

▪  I was offered catered meals, pharmacy-runs, walks, talks, prayers, and meditations.

▪  The pièce de résistance was being loaned two DVD series to distract me with engaging stories. Since then, I have purchased them for others and started to swap series with friends. According to healthguide.org, “A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.”

I was surprised when I visited specialists for other ailments. They became absorbed with my accident and engaged with recommendations for other medical contacts, just in case. I loved their concern for the whole me and not a particular organ. Their caring made me smile, which propelled my healing.

The pineapple, flowers, cards, series watching, nourishment, love, and care enabled me to travel to New York City to share the holidays with family. No matter how crowded the subway, I was always offered a seat by a minority. Each morning my young grandchildren checked my eyes out, reporting, “Less blood, the carrots are working.” My grandson had heard that carrots are good for eyes and he was pushing carrots for Santa and me. It all worked and I am grateful.

Please share how you have helped or been helped by others, via email at sharegoodstories@gmail.com. My last column stimulated a widower to finally donate his wife’s clothes, others to investigate Bhutan, and a few to honk less!

Jane Plitt is a Bradenton author and past president of the Manatee Library Foundation.

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