Friday, January 18, 2013

What to do when waiting at a hospital or other medical facility

This past year has been a medically difficult one for our family. All told we've had five surgeries, a very long (one month and counting) hospital stay, and countless hours of physical therapy.

All this adds up to a lot of waiting if you're the one accompanying the patient. Here are a few of my tips to make your time a little more comfortable, if not exactly productive.

My good friend, Diana Brandmeyer has some tips over on her blog too.

Here are some things to consider bringing along.
  • A sweater or a hoodie. You never know what the inside weather will be like :)
  • Something to occupy your time: a book, magazine, Kindle, Nook, iPad, laptop, knitting/crocheting, etc. Don't bring something that takes up a lot of space or takes a lot of time to set up or put away (i.e. jigsaw puzzles). Bring something that you don't mind being interrupted in doing.
  • Do put together a tote bag or backpack if you're going to be doing this frequently. That way you don't have to stress out your already stressed-out brain cells trying to remember everything each trip.
  • In your tote bag put in a notebook, your calendar/day planner, note cards, bills, or anything else that could be helpful in making you feel productive. Write that note you've been putting off to your grandma or friend that isn't on Facebook.
  • Use a page in your notebook to list specific things you need help with (return library books, a grocery list, find a ride home from school for your son). That way when someone offers to help you can bring out your list.
  • Along those same lines, take help when it is offered. It's hard to admit we need help, even harder to ask for it. But if people are offering, take them up on it. You need it!
  • Bring something to drink. Water, your favorite soda, coffee, tea, whatever. 
  • Get a portable snack, a healthy one if you can, like nuts, fruit, cut up veggies, fruit leather, your favorite nut, fruit, cereal or protein bars. Even a baggie of dry cereal can be helpful. Some places have vending machines for snacks or drinks but if you are doing this a lot, that can be expensive and not very healthy. Some places 
  • Your Bible, a Bible study or devotional, a notebook or note cards for journaling and verses. I've spend more time working on my Bible study at my daughter's hospital bedside and journaling what God has been revealing to me than I had since I'd had my surgery on my ankle. I take great comfort from God's Word during difficult times.
  • Get to know the staff. They see people at their worst, in pain, tired, grumpy, and grouchy. Anything you can do to be kind to them, to smile, to thank them, goes a long way.
  • Also ask the staff about the availability of nearby microwaves, coffee shops, sandwich shops, etc. They often know the best places around and can point you to them faster than you could find them on your own.
Next week, I'll post my tips on how to help someone who is going through a crisis because they have a loved one in the hospital or going through an illness.

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1 comment:

Elaine Stock said...

Jennifer, I had no idea you've been going through so much. May you and your family be blessed with His peace and joy in the days ahead.