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Encouragement for someone facing painful physical therapy?


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There was a thread some time ago about books to encourage a young man who had been paralyzed. I've looked, but can't find it, and not sure the ideas there would be totally appropriate any way.


DH and I are looking for books to encourage an elderly man, who has undergone double knee replacement surgery with serious complications (he ended up in ICU and almost died).


The complications are such that he's been placed in a nursing home, and is very behind on his physical therapy, and in a lot of almost constant pain (there have been issues with pain meds). Physical therapy is excruciating for him, he has no mobility yet and cannot stand without a lot of assistance. He's very discouraged. With this surgery, we are under the impression that if he doesn't go through with his physical therapy he could very well lose the use of his legs. All of this is compounded by the fact that he is a very social extrovert married to an introvert, and while his spouse is doing her best to be there for him, she also has a naturally melancholy disposition. It's all adding up to create the perfect environment for depression. He's fighting it, but without a lot of help. DH stayed with him for almost a week, but has to work, so DH is calling multiple times a day, but it's not enough.


We have sent funny movies but he doesn't want to turn on the TV because his roommate is always sleeping. We've made sure he has access to a phone (can't reach the room phone in his shape). We've encouraged the spouse to be there with him. But it seems they are sitting in silence. She does puzzle books, but he does not.


Any books we could send him? He is Catholic, and very religious. He was a baseball player. He loves to laugh under normal circumstances.


Any ideas would be appreciated!

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Wow. I feel for him. It does sound like a perfect recipe for depression. I would contact his priest and see if he can visit. There may be volunteers in his church that visit the sick as well. For an extrovert, that social connection is probably the very best thing for him. It's so kind of your dh to visit for so long and to call often, but it sounds like the network needs to be expanded.


There are probably also recreational programs at the rehab place that he could get involved with. Or he could ask for a more awake roommate or go ahead and play the DVDs. His roommate might not be wakened. If he does waken, and the roommates can't be switched, they might be able to just split the difference. OR he could use a laptop or an electronic devise to watch the movies. If he doesn't have one, maybe someone could lend him one.


Depression is very serious in the elderly, so it's something to address aggressively and proactively. He could also talk with a doctor about a prescription that might take the edge off that. Making sure his pain is under control as much as possible is also important. I know it can be very hard with a knee replacement. Maybe having someone go visit and be with him during PT for moral support and then be there afterward as a reward would be helpful.


I'm so sorry for your friend, but glad he has you to be thinking of how to help him!

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I would like to suggest any books by Joni Eareckson Tada especially her biography, "Joni" and perhaps "When God Weeps". Joni was paralyzed as a teen in a diving accident. She and her husband are born-again, evangelical Christians, but I am thinking your Catholic friend might find strength and encouragement in some of her writings. Just a thought.

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Thanks, these are good ideas. We had not thought about requesting a different roommate. What a good idea. I will tell DH to pass on the other ideas here, too, and check out the books mentioned.


He has a book about the lives of the saints that he reads often, I might ask if his spouse can bring that in for him, too.

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