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  • December 14, 2017, 10:57:11 PM

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Author Topic: How do I ask for help while I recover from major surgery without being rude?  (Read 434 times)

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Crochet Addict

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It may be my social awkwardness, but I'm having a hard time with this. I'm having a total laparoscopic hysterectomy next month, thanks to a fibroid the size of an orange that's making my life painful and miserable. I'm going to be off work for 6 weeks, and my ob/gyn who is doing the surgery told me to limit my activities to mostly sedentary for the first 2 weeks. I also have a toddler. My MIL usually watches him while I work. My husband is going to take the day of my surgery and the rest of that week off from work to stay home with me. MIL is going to take Little Man for a couple sleepovers at her house. Hubby is off the same 2 days each week. I also have a close friend who's willing to come over and hang out and help me with Little Man for a week or two, as long as her health issues permit. My brother's girlfriend might be able to spend a few nights to help me. My (maybe) faux pas was that I posted on social media "Who would be willing to come hang out and help me out with Little Man while I'm recovering?" My family has this weird dynamic of "we won't do anything unless we're asked specifically, so I've messaged my mother and sister and am waiting to hear back. Is it rude to ask for help? I know etiquette is accept pushing, don't pull, and my close friend and MIL can only do so much with their health issues. BTW, I am working to pre-stock my freezer, pantry, and fridge so that my family and anyone here helping me out has lots of yums to snack on. Thanks for any input!


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No! I don't think it's rude at all! I've asked friends for specific help before and friends have asked me. Nothing rude about it.

Example: a friend of mine was one of the Harvey flooding victims and her house is being remodeled. She has asked me specifically for a series of favors (always qualifying it with "feel free to say no if it's not convenient!") such as storing items at my house, doing a load of laundry for her (at the beginning) and coming over to use my kitchen to bake a birthday cake for her daughter.

I was happy to accommodate her every time. As long as you are asking politely you're good to go!


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It is not rude to ask.

In my experience, asking people for specific things works better than just putting out a general "I may need help" message.

I would literally get out a calendar, and figure out the time still needed, and call and ask specific family members/friends if they can help with one or more of those times.  Get it all covered for the first two weeks if you can.


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I, too, have difficulties asking people for help.

Your's is a situation where it is necessary to ask. Mostly for the care of your Little Man and your own health, not being able to care for him yourself. 

I do like miranova's response about a calendar and being specific about the favors you ask . . . especially since you posted about your family "we won't do anything unless we're asked specifically". The calendar would enable you to ask "Would you be able to do this on that date?" You could mention "I've got this covered, but need help here."

It sounds like your in the planning stages, making freezer food stuff and all that, so you're not leaving everything up to your friends/family. Good for you!

Does your or your DH's workplace offer any kind of in-home care benefits?

No, it is absolutely not rude to ask for help. So long as the help isn't demanded. But you're not that kind of person. ;D

Good luck with your surgery and well wishes for a smooth recovery!


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It's not rude to ask for help.  I don't know how 'broad' your social media page is, and I don't think what you did was a faux pas, but it may be easier for you to figure out what days you need specific help and then ask family and close friends in a more restricted setting (group email or personal message or phone call).

Something like "I'm having surgery and have Dr. orders to limit my physical activity for the following two weeks.  I have help for some of that time, but could use someone to come over on X, Y and/or Z dates to hang out with me and help me with DS.  Are any of you available and able to help out?  Thank you in advance!"


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From experience, you won't be able to lift anything heavier than a couple of pounds.  It would be hard for me to take time off work to help during the day.  However, I would happily stop by after work to take a load of laundry home to wash and iron or do a grocery shop if given a list and money.

Some of your friends and family might be in the same position as me, so it could be handy to have some things that people with time restrictions could sign up for.


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Oh my gosh, please ask for help. Or better yet, get your close friend to help organizing help.

A little story from years ago but it still bothers me. A good friend and neighbor was having a hysterectomy. She was the total self reliant person, involved husband, had a healthy and lives close mom and MIL, and a sister in the area. When I learned about the surgery I asked if she needed help and was told "they'd be ok". I think I took a casserole over one night.

A year later, another friend and in same neighborhood and social circle was having a similar surgery and mentioned to me that she as concerned how she and her DH would handle everything during her down time.  I rallied some support and arranged for dinners 3 nights for the first 3 weeks. Her DH was very grateful. They did not have close family in the area and didn't really realize how limited her activities would be.

A couple of years later, another friend had to have carpal tunnel surgery. A friend in our group began a sign up sheet and there was a delivery of dinner to the family 4 times per week for 5 weeks. Additionally, people signed up to do kid pick up, errands, and all sorts of other activities.

First friend (really, really close friend by then) mentioned to me that she was a little hurt that during her time of need there had been very little support but with this latest, we were basically running their household for 5 weeks. I thought back to why that had happened and it was because 1st friend didn't ask for help because she thought it was wrong. 2nd friend mentioned a concern, but 3rd friend was very vocal about knowing they'd need assistance.

This experience made me realize that I'm also viewed as one of those ultra self reliant people with a great support network and if I don't articulate that I need help, it won't be offered.

Oh Joy

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POD to all of the other recommendations. Especially to check on caregiver backup services through your DH's work. Mine offers backup child care, where we pay a small co-pay and they send someone through a nanny agency during the workday. It's intended for when your usual caregiver can't work and is a great benefit.

Best wishes.