Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

February 23, 2008

You Asked for It: Gifts for the Recovering BFF

Filed under: Uncategorized,You Asked For It — Francesca @ 9:00 pm

Our internet friend Rachel writes:

This isn’t specifically a “big girl” question, but I so value your taste and counsel that you were the first I thought of. I have a dear friend who is recovering from a grueling surgery (having a mass removed from her pineal gland; we’re still waiting to hear if it’s benign); she’s due to be released from the hospital tomorrow and will be chilling at her mom’s for a few weeks to complete her recovery. I want to put together a Care Package of Fabulousness to see her through her long, quiet days at the casa. I’m thinking it’ll include a DVD, a book or two, maybe some yummy teas, cozy socks, and … that’s where I need your help. What little bits of fab would you suggest for a friend who’s taking a few weeks of rest to get her groove back? I’d so appreciate your help.

Thanks in advance, my dears, and stay fabulous!

Ayyyy! Francesca sincerely hopes that Rachel’s friend has the speedy and complete recovery!

She has heard from many friends who were on bed rest and similar situations that though they would never ask to get sick, they found that having a few weeks to think about their lives and where they want to “go with it” was profoundly inspiring and life-altering. May Rachel’s friend make the best emotional and spiritual use of the time and feel physically better quickly!

A Chilling at Home care package is a great idea. Francesca is thinking scented candles, a little bit of (Francesca’s favorite) perfumelanguage tapes, bubble bath,  and a pretty journal.

But remember that the best gift is probably your time: to keep her company, to do chores around the house that her mom can’t get to so easily, to do library runs, to drive her to the doctor, etc. It would also be a way to help her mom, who might feel overwhelmed. Often, when friends ask “Is there anything I can do,” it is hard for the sick person to think of anything, or they are embarrassed to ask for what they really need. But if you say “I’m going to the supermarket, do you want to give me a list of things to pick up?” or “I want to see you; how about we give your mom the night off, and I’ll come over with a casserole and a movie?” then they will accept the help.

Please let us know how your friend is doing!



  1. Once when I had a surgery, friends sent me an Edible Arrangment – a bouquet filled with flowers carved out of fruit. So refreshing and lovely!

    Books, CDs, and DVDs are lovely.

    I haven’t done it yet, but I might send a gift card for a couple of days of Simon Delivers to a friend – they deliver groceries to your door.

    Comment by dowdydiva — February 23, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

  2. When my sister had surgery I grocery shopped for her and brought her movies to watch. My mister brings me oj and cough drops when I’m sick. But for this kind of recovery, I’d say pampering things – a scented candle, some nice lotion, a little bit of something tasty (high end chocolate or something she wouldn’t normally get herself), a prepaid month of Netflix so she can watch all the movies she wants, or a really good book. It’s hard to go wrong if you know her well. I also just discovered Mighty Leaf teas and the joy of snuggling up to a hot water bottle when you’re feeling icky. Everybody needs a good hot water bottle!

    Comment by Anne (in Reno) — February 23, 2008 @ 11:08 pm

  3. Just a thought, but bring her magazines with lots of pictures. Martha Stewart living, Gourmet, whatever might appeal to her taste. (I’m assuming she can still look at things)

    I know that after I had major surgery, I had no mental energy for reading or crossword puzzles. Thankfully, a friend supplied me with a stack of magazines which I flipped through, looking at the photographs.

    After the 3-4 days, I was capable of more sustained concentration, but still not a lot of mental effort. I worked on jigsaw puzzles and did crosswords.

    I don’t know what your friend’s tastes run to, but see if you can think of things that are diversionary without requiring a lot of mental effort.

    Comment by Geogrrl — February 23, 2008 @ 11:40 pm

  4. I have to agree with Geogrrl – I had surgery a few years ago and the anesthesia messed with me so badly that I couldn’t concentrate on reading for a long time. New music would be great, maybe some good classic TV or movies on DVD. If she doesn’t have one already, how about a fantastically comfortable new bathrobe? And I totally agree with offering to help with chores or do some shopping and cooking, or even offering to find and pay a house cleaner to do that stuff. It might be easier for her to accept a professional scrubbing her toilets than you doing it directly for her.

    Comment by Sony — February 24, 2008 @ 2:08 am

  5. How about videogames or a gameboy or a DS? I usually like that kind of stuff when I’m ill, long roleplaying games like Final Fantasy or Zelda, when my concentration wanes I usually fall asleep and pick up from the last save.
    I think a new, nice pyjama would be great as well, as would a nice, cozy pashmina. Lying in bed (or on the sofa) for a long time makes you feel like such a slob, so some nice bath things are great, too (some bath bombs by Lush?), if that’s too much, Bumble & Bumble have some fabulous hair powder that’s kind of a “dry wash” for the hair.
    Totally agree about the cleaning lady.

    Comment by teapunk — February 24, 2008 @ 7:56 am

  6. Someone gave me a microwaveable wrap for Christmas. It had a micro fleece soft slip cover and is scented with lavender. Heat it up and snuggle with it under the covers and it’s good for what ails you. There is also a a stuffed puppy called the “Lavender Lab”. Sold for children, but incredibly soft and it releases the lavendar scent every time you squeeze it. I got one for my granddaughter, but it almost didn’t make it out of my house. Hope your friend has a full recovery and is back on her feet real soon.

    Comment by gemdiva — February 24, 2008 @ 10:37 am

  7. I second the suggestions of a snuggly bathrobe or pretty pajamas. Spending several weeks mostly in bed mean she’s going to need more changes in those areas than usual. Also, Geogrrl is really onto something with the light reading material with plenty of pretty illustrations.

    A box of really good chocolates is nearly always a hit. Of course, if you bake, some homemade treats would probably be even better. I also say it’s hard to go wrong with a pretty journal and a really good pen for someone who’s going to have a lot of alone time in her own head. As you say, Francesca, recovery time from surgery can be a great time to take stock of things, and you don’t want to take the chance of losing those philosophical insights for lack of someplace to write them down.

    One note about candles and scents. I assume that anyone you know well enough to be offering up this sort of post-surgical gift to is someone you know pretty darn well. Still, if you’re unsure how she is about open flames or whether there are perfumes she’s allergic/sensitive to, it might not be a bad idea to ask. After all, I thought everyone coming to my wedding shower would already know I’m hideously phobic about fire and can’t handle being in the same room with a lot of perfumed products…but most of them brought me scented candles. If there’s any doubt at all, double and triple check.

    Comment by Twistie — February 24, 2008 @ 1:07 pm

  8. The casserole is such a good idea! I used to laugh at the idea of taking food to someone when she was sick or after a death in the family, but when my dad was dying, my aunts and uncles and cousins took turns bringing meals to us every day at the hospice. It was the best, most thoughtful thing anyone could have done. We were in too much shock and too busy trying to cram in those last precious minutes with my dad to even think of preparing food. Not having to worry about grocery shopping or cooking is such a load off the mind. (I also love the idea of hiring a cleaning service and will remember that for the future.)

    Comment by class-factotum — February 24, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

  9. As someone who’s been in generally terrible health for many long years now, let me say amen to Francesca’s recommendation about time being the best thing you can give, if it’s possible. When one is feeling poorly — especially if it goes on for a while — plain old human contact becomes a very precious thing!

    So, yes, by all means give her mom a break and offer to do errands (as has been said, making specific offers is critical to actually being useful). But really, just having a couple of people to talk to makes an enormous difference as far as feeling normal and connected with the world.

    And you don’t have to be all chipper and upbeat about it, either — unless that’s what your friend seems to want or need from you, of course. But if she’s up for talking movies or shoes or politics or just silly stuff, go right ahead! Thinking about how sick you are is naturally part of being sick (duh!), but a little break and a bit of normal conversation can be a great relief.

    Which is not to put down the idea of a thoughtful care package at all, instead or or in addition to a gift of time. Using something given by a caring friend or family member makes you feel connected and loved — and, sick or not, nobody can get enough of that!

    (But be careful with those candles. Bed rest + candles=not always the best idea.)

    Comment by Bridey — February 24, 2008 @ 7:20 pm

  10. i third the idea of comfy pjs. when i was recovering from surgery, my grandma sent me a pair of pajamas that i didn’t change out of for a week. i was cozy and reminded of her love, all at once.

    Comment by amy — February 24, 2008 @ 10:27 pm

  11. My sister in law was on bed rest for 4 months awaiting her twins. In addition to groceries, getting the mail, ect, we loaned her a laptop to keep in touch with friends, watch movies and research baby stuff. She also needed a basket of lip balms, face wash, socks, notepad and a artists notebook and pencils.

    Comment by Peaches — February 25, 2008 @ 12:36 am

  12. After I had twins my partner surprised me with daily gifts for a month almost. My favorite was the cleaning service twice a week – I wasn’t up to cleaning and caring for two newborns and he knows that I’m a little obsessive about keeping a clean home.

    Other ideas are service vouchers for home manicure & pedicure, foot massage or facial services. Your friend makes the appointment when it suits her. I find that looking good and feeling good about myself when I’m not well help me recover faster – well at least I don’t whine as much as I might otherwise.

    Or you can send your friend a craft kit – I picked up glass painting from a kit my friend gave me to see me through the last month of pregnancy when I could hardly walk for the water retention and bloating.

    Comment by shiloh — February 25, 2008 @ 9:01 am

  13. Having spent a couple of weeks of recovery, I fully agree about the gift of time. If you have mutual friends, bug them to visit, offer to drive them over. Home-cooked meals that can be frozen or reheated will also let her know that you care. I also agree about magazines with lots of pictures and low mental requirements at first. Something stylish and comfortable to wear around the house that isn’t pajamas or sweats would be lovely and unexpected.

    Comment by Andi — February 26, 2008 @ 12:00 am

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