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The Art of the Hug


On the 2nd March I had an operation, I wasn't writing my blog then. I was writing my thoughts on Facebook. At that time I was hopeful that the cancerous mass that was being removed would be all I needed to get back on my feet. It was well over 2 years before, that I had my successful bowel cancer surgery and subsequent chemotherapy. The operation went well. I was off work for a while although it was remarkable how quickly I recovered. At that time Trish couldn't drive so I was even driving after about three weeks.

On the 23rd March our world changed lockdown was announced with immediate and profound effects. I was fully expecting to convalesce, for 2 or 3 months on statuary sick pay (SSP) instead I spent what remained of Spring and the whole of Summer on furlough. And what fabulous weather we've had.

On the 28th of March, during the early stages of lockdown (remember toilet rolls) I wrote, amongst other things, about the “Art of the Hug".

On the 11th of August I learnt my cancer had returned, and this time surgery was not an option. The available treatment options were a simple choice between no treatment (die soon) or chemotherapy (die not so soon). Tomorrow I start my second session of chemotherapy.


The effect was, and still is, immediate and profound.

During the fateful consultation I remember discussing what extra precautions I should take in the light of this new social distanced world. (I had already been advised to shield) However what I can extrapolate from the jumbled memories of the meeting was...Take care, distance where possible, be aware that my ability to fight off infection will diminish. But one thing i clearly remember is "You'll need hugs". I think we may have been talking about our grandchildren Louie and Mila but I only heard “you’ll need hugs".


So I’ll make a deal with you.


My part of the deal is; I’ll do my best at keeping myself safe, I’ll comply with the rule of 6 or whatever the latest advice happens to be, I’ll wear my mask when necessary or required, I’ll not take too many chances. I’ll do whatever is necessary to stay well and if the situation is right and I think I'm safe I’ll give you a hug.


Your part of the deal is; You’ll do your best at keeping yourself safe, you’ll comply with the rule of 6 or whatever the latest advice happens to be, you’ll wear a mask when necessary or required, you'll not take too many chances, you'll do whatever is necessary to keep yourself well and if the situation is right and you think you're safe you’ll give me a hug.


And FYI.......a hug from someone in full PPE is still a very welcome and well received hug. Thanks A....(Tuesday) and E... I’m collecting later.


You can stop reading now unless you want to know about The Art of the Hug otherwise read on...


So what's special about HUGS?

Well for a start they're free and they're easy to learn how to give and the best part is that they are a non-pharmacological, non-invasive, universal expression of love and care. When you give a HUG the person receiving the HUG gets a silent message, “You matter to me, you are not alone, I’m here.”

And of course a HUG gives back because we cannot hug someone without getting one in return. Hugs are without a doubt a win, win thing where both of us get the benefit.

Now I've alerted you to the power of HUGS think of those who need a HUG now and let them know that when all this isolation is over to brace themselves because a HUG is on it's way.

When I think of my family and friends I know those who give good HUGS. Don't get me wrong all HUGS are good. But some are especially good HUGS.

So that got me to thinking how come some HUGS are good and some HUGS are excellent life affirming HUGS.

We here's a few pointers on how to:-

Give a Good HUG

1. Aim to HUG someone for at least 20 seconds – don’t be a pussy – make it a good bear HUG to show how much you care. (Stop. Count 20 seconds.......It's a long time)

2. Develop a good technique Raise your left arm and lower your right arm to wrap around his or her middle this gives the best “Heart to Heart HUG”:

3. Give and receive HUGS whenever you can. Some people say we need 4 HUGS a day for survival, 8 HUGS a day for maintenance and 12 HUGS a day for growth.

And

4. If you are not sure if someone is a HUGGER, a nice pat on the back or rub on the hand or arm will let you know if you should go for it. If not, the touch is still a nice gesture of support and not invading the recipient’s space.

I'm making it my mission to find all of you that have sent me verbal, virtual HUGS. I'm coming to collect!

So use this time wisely. Learn the art of HUGGING.



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