When someone close to you is sick, the instinct is to shower that person with love in the form of chocolate, flowers, and balloons. This is a very kind instinct, but when someone is going through cancer treatment or in the hospital, you may need to rethink these gifts.
Chocolate and flowers each may present a possible problem for a cancer patient. Depending on the type of cancer they have, they may have dietary restrictions, and sugar can be a forbidden ingredient. Many hospitals are now banning flowers because of the germs and bugs they may carry. And you may want to stay away from mylar balloons, which pose a risk to power lines and there is a worldwide helium shortage.
So, what should you bring to a cancer patient? Really, anything that will bring comfort to the patient and is allowed in a hospital environment. Here are a couple of ideas:
- A cozy set of button-up pajamas, robe or slippers
- Warm, fuzzy socks
- A soft blanket
- A basket of unscented lotions and lip balms
- A good, funny book
- A nice journal and pen
- Music or relaxation/meditation exercises
- Movies, a Netflix/Amazon subscription, or an iTunes/Amazon gift card to download their own
You can also give the gift of your time. Besides visiting someone, you could offer to help with daily activities. For example, you could babysit young children. If their parent is in the hospital, you could take them for a walk or out to get something to eat. Pick up their mail, feed a pet, or water plants. You could even offer to help them sort their medical bills and other paperwork.
Use these ideas, or use them to spark your own ideas. What every cancer patient needs more than anything is love and support, and any gift will be appreciated, because it is the thought that counts!