As many know already, I have the worst luck when it comes to medical issues. My husband and I joke about how long I can go without a stay at the hospital. My last hospitalization was just this week, and I will say, we have gotten quite good about Hospital Helpfulness 101. This post will look at things you can pack, what you can do for others, and some essentials for any hospital stay you might encounter.
Here’s a little background information on me, I have had 3 c-sections in the last four years, have been hospitalized for random unlucky things like hitting my head on a fire alarm to a horrible infection after I got my eyebrows waxed. Yes, you read that right. My entire face swelled up and the infection got all around my eyes and landed me in the hospital for IV antibiotics. After having several stays at the hospital, here are some essentials to know…
1.) If you are going to be in the hospital for any amount of time, bring yourself things to do. Hospitals are extremely boring, and the TV isn’t as good as you think. During my bedrest in the hospital for my third daughter, I learned that entertainment is all up to you. Bring and iPad, headphones, books, coloring books, and puzzles to keep you entertained. Honestly, when you are in the hospital you just want something to keep your mind off of whatever you are in there for, so bringing some interesting items helps. Watch Netflix on your iPad, listen to Audible, color in those awesome Mandala coloring books, or read something hilarious like Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by my personal hero Jenny Lawson. (P.S. Jenny Lawson if you ever read this, you are amazing and reading your books kept me from going crazy in the hospital.)
2.) So an iPad counts as more than just entertainment when you are in the hospital. An iPad is also great for FaceTime. It is such a blessing to be able to see your family face to face when you are away from them. It was great to see my children even when there was a visitor ban during the flu season at the hospital. Seeing my family was one of the highlights of my day.
3.) Bring an extra long charging cord for your cell phone. Having an extra long charging cord was amazing because when my phone was charging, I could still have the phone next to me on the hospital bed or the little tray they have by your bed. You do not realize how inconvenient a short cord is when you are trying to charge your damn phone and can’t reach it because you are limited to only whats in an arms length because of all the IV cords, blood pressure cuffs, or compression leg wraps.
4.) Your own pillow- yes, bring your own pillow. Hospital pillows are like rocks, and laying on them for any extended period of time is horrible. Your welcome.
5.) Along with your own pillow, bring a comfy blanket. Your own comfortable blanket will raise your spirits and make you feel a little more at home. Also, you can make sure you are completely covered because we all know how revealing those damn hospital gowns are…
6.) Warm Socks… these are essential. Hospital rooms are freezing, and warm socks will become your best friend. Also, make sure the warm socks have those little sticky pads on the bottom. This way you do not fall on your ass as you try to make it to the bathroom.
The Following Hospital Helpfulness 101 will pertain to anyone who is trying to help/comfort someone who is in the hospital…
7.) If your friend/spouse/family member is able to, bring them something to eat other than hospital food. If your loved one is on a general diet, the food at hospitals is not all that great. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice not to have to make dinner for once, but having someone bring you Chipotle or Culver’s is so much better than that tuna melt you ordered for lunch. When I was in the hospital for my daughters, having someone bring me food was sooo helpful. Whether it was granola bars, bananas, Chipotle, or popcorn, it was all greatly appreciated. This last hospitalization I was too nauseous to eat, but having a family member bring me a soda and saltines was a nice gesture.
8.) Offer to make your loved one dinner for when they get home. My co-workers, friends, and family members made me wonderful freezer meals so I knew I didn’t have to worry about making dinners when I got home. That helped me more than they could ever know. It is hard for me to ask for help, but I am so thankful for everyone who brought our family dinners, or made my husband and kids dinner while I was in the hospital.
9.) Send your loved one funny texts, Snap Chats, or whatever to get their mind off of why they are in the hospital. Just being there for them is greatly appreciated, and allowing your loved one to escape the reality of the hospital is essential for his or her mental health 🙂
10.) Always, always, always remember your loved one has just experienced something that was not pleasant. A hospital stay is not like going to a day spa (yes, Mom, I used your quote here). Hospitals are not relaxing, you do not get to have good sleep, you are woken up constantly, you have people coming in and poking at you or giving you shots in your ass or stomach, so no, it is not fun… If you can provide your loved one with some quiet down time, do it. Take their kids for an hour, let them sit down and encourage them to take a shower/nap/whatever they need to recoup for a bit. It will mean more to them than you will ever know.
So here are a few things I have learned about all of my hospital stays within the last few years. Hope this helps you, and gives you a little insight about how to pack/help during a hospital stay.
Thank you and good night!