• 12 SENSIBLE Tips
for Significant Others of BA Patients:
First and foremost, be emotionally prepared to be a caregiver. Your
partner will soon be in a position
she is unaccustomed to, with a level of helplessness that she isn’t
likely to enjoy. She will be forced
to ask you to reach for something six inches from her hand, because
she can’t bend forward at all,
she will ask for meds in the middle of the night and then suddenly
have to go to the bathroom just
after you have closed your eyes once again. In other words, there
will be no rhyme or reason to her
requests, and she needs you to be patient and quietly responsive
while she gets through the rough
parts. That might be a few days or a few weeks but prepare for the
long haul and take wonderful care
of her and you will be rewarded more than you know!
1. Ice and Ice Packs
I bought 6 small freezable gel packs (about 4” x 6”)
and even sewed small flannelette covers for them
in advance. The covers were invaluable to soften the impact of the
plastic gelpacks but here’s the real
tip: LAY THOSE PACKS FLAT TO RE-FREEZE THEM. My poor hubby piled
a few into the freezer and
then brought rock hard distorted gelpacks to me, which dug into
the sides of my hard breasts so
severely that they were far too painful to use.
2. Toilet Lids
Throw the classic argument out the window and leave the seat DOWN.
Do not put the top cover down.
It is very painful to bend forward for any reason so have that toilet
ready for her so she doesn’t have
to deal with the seat or lid.
3. Phone Calls
Each time the phone rings, ask in advance if she wants the phone
brought to her or if she wants
messages taken. Holding a phone to your ear requires surprising
pectoral strength, which she
won’t have. A cell phone left carefully within her reach will
be reassuring, if you have to be out of voice
range. BE SURE SHE CAN REACH IT. If you have to go out at all, be
sure she has everything she needs, and has gone to the bathroom
before you go out.
4. Position Changes and Light Headedness
Be aware that light-headedness can be fairly severe for a while,
especially if your partner is nauseous.
Once she manages to stand up, be sure you remind her to take deep
breaths to be sure she does
not aggravate the light-headedness with oxygen deprivation. Don’t
let her try stairs without being
close by in case she becomes faint. Be prepared to support her body
if she gets weak, as reaching
for her hand will be useless.
If you have a recliner chair, line it with a camping foamie, a mattress
pad and use single sheets to
make it up for the first few days of sleep. Don’t forget that
if it has one of those handles to bring up the
feet, once your partner is in it, she won’t be able to reach
the bar to get herself out. Encourage her to
get her lower back right into the lower back of the chair, to avoid
pain over the few few days and add a
small extra pillow there if there isn’t excellent lumbar support.
Sleep close by. Wash her bedding after
only a few days to help her feel fresher, no matter where she is
sleeping. Use light weight blankets,
as ANY weight on your breasts is uncomfortable when lying on your
Your partner may ask for you to remind her of things, go over things,
or remember things that have
been said to you both. She may not recall the order things happened
or specific instructions so be
prepared to be in charge of the details. She may need to re-hash
things considerably or not want to
talk about it at all. Go with what she needs and she’ll pass
through whatever stage of recovery she’s
in, more readily.
Do be prepared for nausea and then count yourself very lucky if
she doesn’t have it. Plain crackers, a
few bowls of jello, a can or two of meal replacement drinks, can
go a long way if she gets sick. Don’t
cook strong smelling meals for yourself if she is nauseous.
A few fresh flowers by her bed help bring the outside world in for
those few days of inprisonment
(unless scents are making her nauseous).
9. What to Say
This is personal of course, but when you are bruised, swollen, and
dishevelled, a compliment goes
a VERY long way. Be sure you offer a great deal of quiet sincere
encouragement and remind your
partner that her new breasts are beautiful to you. NO CRITICISM
of anything about her.
10. Ups and Downs
Recovery might be a cinch, but I think for most of us, it’s
an up and down process. Remember that
most of us keep hoping…"Okay, THAT was the worst part
and now it’s over"… and if you have some
rough hours or a rough day AFTER that, it can be discouraging. If
she has any ongoing concerns, call
the doctor for her and get answers quickly. Brush her hair and sooth
her any way you can.
11. All Better! – NOT
Don’t let her get going too fast once she feels better. Celebrate
all the recovery steps but make sure
she keeps resting and only adds small jobs at a time to her process
of getting back to normal life
Kitty Kat, 1 month post