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The Tuna Sandwich

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My mother used to make my lunch every day when I was going to elementary school. And every day it was the same thing: tuna fish. Fortunately for me, I liked tuna fish and I also liked the way she made it. I’m still a big fan.

One day, however, as a joke she made the sandwich a little different than she usually did. She cut it in half, then in half again, and then again, leaving me with six little finger sandwiches. She arranged them all into the shape of the original sandwich, and then put it into the little sandwich bag that way. (Yes, they had sandwich bags in those days… and horseless carriages and electric lights, too!)

When I sat down to have lunch with my friends, I took out the sandwich and everyone saw what she had done. We laughed and laughed and laughed, as only 5th graders can do. I’m still smiling about it and it has been, uh, “several” years since it happened. And now, hopefully, you are too.

Here’s the lesson: with a little creativity you can bring a lot of joy to someone with very little effort. How does this apply to coping and caregiving? As caregiver you can do something similar for your patient and bring a smile to their face, which will brighten your day as well as theirs.

Think about it for a moment. What can you do that’s a little silly or fun that might achieve this objective? Bring them a glass of water in your finest crystal; you know, the pieces you never use unless it’s a special occasion. Or, instead of simply bringing fruit you could slice it up into little pieces, or in funny shapes. Next time you make them a bath, make it a bubble bath or put in a rubber ducky.

Be creative and have some fun. You may even enjoy it more than they do!

This article is one in a series on coping strategies for patients and caregivers alike. For more thoughts on caregiving, coping strategies, reducing stress, and just plain fun subscribe to my free monthly newsletter at www.CaringAndCoping.com Need a speaker for an upcoming event? I have a program that will knock your socks off! www.ThePPP.org/speaking#handle

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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