It’s that time of year where people start panicking about what to give other people for Christmas. I want to give you some ideas about what to give your favourite sickie (or even just the one you got assigned in the office Secret Santa).
Now, don’t for a moment think that you have to get a chronically ill person something related to their illness. Our illnesses don’t define us and we all have things we want outside of treatment. The top, number one gift you can get a sick person is something they actually want but wouldn’t normally buy themselves. The other top number one gifts are cash, because cash is excellent and sick people often don’t have much, and your time, sympathy and practical assistance. However, if you don’t know them that well, or really want to get them something to assist with their fight with endometriosis, read on.
1) A TENS Machine
There are plenty of options for TENS machines on the market these days, from the discreet (think Painmate or Livia) to the hardcore. They range in price, too – a Painmate will set you back around $50 (or $0 if you win my Christmas giveaway!) whereas a Livia kit is on sale at $198 right now. TENSMachinesAustralia sells a variety ranging from $100 to $200+.
2) An upgraded heat pack
One thing that is common between most chronically ill people is that we tend to spend our spare disposable income on our illness, so when it comes to the necessities like heat packs we go for the utilitarian. A novelty heat pack like this cat one, or one of these exotic animals, is still a good shape for the pelvis whilst being a bit more fun and cute than your standard wheat bag.
Another nice alternative, if the person in question doesn’t have any issues with scents, is a scented one. I have a lavender one that I just adore.
Another great option is an electric heat pad. I can’t for the life of me find the one I use, which I nabbed in a large chemist one day. Basically, they are like mini-electric blankets and are great, because the sick person doesn’t have to repeatedly go to the microwave to reheat the thing.
3) An iTunes voucher or Netflix/HBO/Stan/Hulu subscription
People with a chronic illness are stuck at home a lot. A iTunes voucher will let them buy another movie or TV show, some good music, or some fun apps. This is a gift that can suit any budget, of course, because you get to choose the amount you give. Alternatively, a subscription to a streaming service lets them have a month (or a few, depending on your budget) of a whole range of movies and tv shows to binge.
4) Nice pyjamas, dressing gown or slippers
When I’m healthy, I generally dress to the nines. When I’m sick, I will rarely wear anything more exciting than pyjamas. They are comfy and comforting. They grow with my poor sore belly and let me sleep whenever I need. Whether it is a soft $10 flannelette pair of bottoms from Kmart or you splash out on some themed fun sets from Peter Alexander, bed clothes and accessories will never go amiss.
Maybe this is just because I’m British, but tea is an incredibly comforting drink. It comes in so many varieties, so there’s something for everything, and with the choice of cold infusions there’s an option for every season, too. It’s often a better alternative than coffee because caffeine can make some people’s endometriosis go a bit wild. Get together a box of really fancy tea bags, or a nice selection of loose leaf. If they aren’t a tea person, maybe a nice hot chocolate would be more their style.
6) A Weighted Blanket
Ok, these are pricey (around $150-$200+), so these are probably not good for a Secret Santa option. However, they are incredibly comforting to some people with chronic pain because the weight is bizarrely relaxing. It could just be me, but I find having something heavy on top of me forces me to relax effectively, and a weighted blanket achieves that without the heat of multiple covers.
7) An Audible Subscription
If you are stuck at home a lot but are too tired to hold a book up, or you are waiting in emergency rooms for hours at a time, audio books can be a great way to pass the time. I love Audible (I have the UK subscription, not the Australian one) as it has so many books on there. I effectively pay $14.50 (depending on the exchange rate) for a new book every month. The books in my library range from a breezy 4 hours to a whopping 70 hours of entertainment each. Some classics are free. Consider buying someone a few months, and they can always cancel it if they don’t like it after that.
8) A Subscription Box
The gifts that keep on giving, subscription boxes are great, particularly for someone stuck at home, because it is undeniably exciting to receive a little something every month or so. There are subscription boxes for literally everything, from underwear to makeup to coffee to veganism to some specifically for chronic illness. There really is something for everyone. A particularly useful one for your spoonie friend may be a subscription to a meal delivery box, such as Soulara or Hello Fresh. I cannot overstate how much of a chore meals can be when you are in pain and under pressure from your treating team to maintain a healthy diet.
9) A Cleaning Service
Chores can be absurdly hard for people with chronic illness. If you are happy to pay for a cleaner to come in and help your friend even just once a week or once a fortnight, that’s a huge burden off them. It gives them the comfort of knowing that, even if they have a bad day (or several) and let things go, someone will be there to help them excavate a hole in the trash pile they may be forced to create.
10) A Hamper of Goodies
Bath salts, body butters, edible treats, magazines, puzzle books, actual books, scented candles, essential oils, fluffy socks – whatever you want to put in a hamper, you can. You can make it tiny with just some chocolates and hair ties, if you are on a limited budget, or you can get wildly extravagant with a plush dressing gown and bed linen, if you are a millionaire who shopped the Sheridan sale last Black Friday. This is a gift you can customise for any budget and any recipient, and would go down a treat with anyone I know.
I hope this is of some help for anyone out there shopping for a loved one (or an I’ve-met-them-a-couple-of-times-by-the-coffee-machine-one) this Christmas. What have you bought for people with endo in the past? People with endo, what would you really love to receive? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to enter the Christmas giveaway!