If you were in a vehicle crash that caused serious injury to your spouse, there’s a good chance you may also have sustained some injuries. This circumstance can obviously complicate the recovery process for both of you. For the sake of our discussion, we’re going to assume your injuries are not as serious as those of your partner (if you were both seriously injured, another friend or loved one would need to care for both of you). What can you do to make sure that you recover properly alongside your spouse?
Don’t Neglect Yourself
Regardless of whether your injuries are more or less severe than those of your partner, you need medical attention. As human nature often dictates, you will probably be tempted to focus all your attention on the needs of your significant other, to your own neglect. However, failing to tend to your own injuries could cause serious complications that could make your circumstance that much worse. You can’t care for your wife or husband properly if you allow your own condition to deteriorate. If your own injuries require hospitalization, see if you and your spouse can share a room. Make sure you follow your own doctor’s orders. Take your medications. Avoid any activities that could aggravate your own injuries, and get the rest you need.
Give Yourself a Break
Your body works the same way as your spouse’s does: It won’t heal without rest. No matter how tempted you are to stay engaged with your spouse’s situation 24/7, if you don’t take the time to rest, you’re only prolonging your own agony and limiting your own ability to help. You don’t have to handle this situation alone. Call a trusted friend or family member, perhaps someone from church or work. See if they can come to the hospital to sit with your spouse while you tend to your own treatment, or just so you can go take a nap.
If you have children but your injuries require you to stay in the hospital with your spouse, someone will need to see to the children’s needs. (It seems like an obvious detail, but in a traumatic situation sometimes details get lost.) Call a trusted friend or family member to step in and help. Remember to notify the schools as to who will be picking up the kids to avoid any confusion or suspicion (for security reasons, many schools have strict policies about knowing who will pick up the children). Advise the temporary guardian about the children’s needs, dietary restrictions and routine. Obviously, the home situation won’t be “normal,” but the closer the children are to keeping to their routine, the less stress they will feel.
Remember to Track Your Own Medical Records and Expenses
If you’ve been injured in the same accident as your spouse, you may also be able to receive compensation from the party at fault. Remember to keep all receipts, obtain copies of your own records and invoices, etc., as these may eventually be incorporated into your personal injury case.
Sustaining an injury along with your spouse can certainly make recovery more challenging for both of you, especially at the beginning. However, by dealing with the details methodically and taking care of yourself, you can minimize the overall stress as you begin the process of recovery.