Visitors are a key part of the recovery process for BMT patients. While it is important to limit the exposure to possible causes of infection and illness, it is also important to keep your spirits up by seeing your friends and family, to distracting yourself from the challenges of recovery. The transplant team encourages visitors as long as patients aren’t in isolation. Please don’t be afraid to visit! I will need all the love and distraction I can get.
Some things to keep in mind when visiting
?? PLEASE DO NOT BRING FLOWERS, PLANTS, BALLOONS OR CORRUGATED CARDBOARD ON THE TRANSPLANT WARD! THESE ITEMS ARE NOT ALLOWED FOR INFECTION REASONS. ??
??The person you are visiting my be physically and emotionally exhausted. You may witness some things you’re not prepared for you and you’re going to need to handle it and maybe put on a brave face.
??Going through a transplant is hard. Try to be understanding and empathetic. Don’t come with a preconceived notion of what your visit will be like.
??Try to keep a straight face, or wear a smile so we don’t have to see the look of shock when you see how shitty we look. We know we look shitty. Consider not saying ‘You look great,’ to make us feel better. We know you’re lying, and therefore it won’t make us feel better 😉
??Be prepared to sit in silence, have a dance party, hold someone’s hair while they are sick or cry in solidarity. Just feel it out, and try to be whatever the person you’re visiting needs you to be in the moment. Try to connect, be vulnerable with them, because they are at the peak of their own vulnerability. Don’t compare your experiences or stories with what they are experiencing. Unless you have had a transplant- you can’t understand. We know that. It’s OK.
??We don’t expect you to understand, to be able to compare it to an experience you’ve had, or to try and put yourself in the dark and scary space that having empathy about cancer can take you to. Thinking about your own mortality, or that of the person you are visiting is HARD. It’s OK to say, ‘I don’t understand’, or ‘I dont know what to say, but I’m here and I love you’.
Here is a great video about visiting the transplant ward that will help: