Having supportive friendships is one of the best parts of life, especially when one of those friends has a struggle with their health. While many friends know how to help with short-term support during a hospital stay or after a surgery recovery, they often have questions about support during a long-term health struggle. One symptom of a long-term health struggle is needing oxygen. So how can you help a friend who started on oxygen? Keep reading below to learn ways you can support your friend after this difficult change.
Don’t: Ask Questions
Do: Educate Yourself
Your friend has sat through hours of doctor’s appointments answering and asking questions and has probably spent even longer talking to their insurance company about their oxygen needs. Now that they have an oxygen machine and portable concentrator, they don’t want to repeat all those conversations for you.
Instead of asking them to educate you about their new equipment, educate yourself. Research the different types of portable oxygen machines so that when you go out together, you’ll understand how it works in case they need assistance. You don’t need to be an expert, but they’ll appreciate your due diligence.
Do: Offer Help They Can Decline
Obviously, you want to help your friend as much as possible, especially with this new health adjustment. However, that doesn’t mean hovering around when you do things together or acting as if they’re incapable of basic tasks.
Instead, regularly offer help that they are free to accept or decline. This will let them know that you’re thinking of them and willing to help but that you don’t see them as needy or incapable. Be patient during this process. Many people find it difficult to ask for help, so treat them the same whether they accept or decline.
Don’t: Act Like Nothing’s Changed
Do: Hang Out Where They’re Comfortable
Oxygen is an obvious sign of health struggles that may make your friend self-conscious. They may not want to go out with you as they previously did, concerned about unwanted attention.
However, this doesn’t mean you should stop inviting them out. Continue to include them in your social calendar, including going out to places they previously enjoyed. But also, be willing to meet them where they are. Spend time together in settings where they are most comfortable as they adjust to this change.
There are many dos and don’ts of how you can help a friend who started on oxygen. Educating yourself, offering help they can decline, and hanging out where they’re most comfortable are some of the best ways you can support your friend during this transition. So keep those in mind as you spend time together.