Community member Courtney had a recent stay in the hospital with her new daughter. Her daughter is 3 and came to their family with complex medical needs. She is a wonderful mother of other kiddos with needs, but not many with the complex medical needs variety.
She’d not ended up in the ER with an emergent admittance. She was just like I used to be; the hopeful parent who ended up in the ER. In our case, I, with my pre transplant dehydrated child (on more than one occasion) without the necessities as well as the extra comforts of home.
On a particularly spectacular visit to the ER with absolutely no planning was exactly the last time I went to the ER unprepared. In fact, since then I probably over prepare.
The kids were younger, pre kidney transplant, and post healthy. A simple virus could land them in the ER for fluids and this time it did. Kid number 1 was just a visit, fluids, then we were home. A week or so later the other one was sick and ended up in the ER. This time, no fluids, but a quick admittance. The husband was out of town, a friend was at our house watching child #1 and there I was in the hospital with nothing but my purse.
The nurses gave me sheets, towels and a toothbrush and toothpaste and I found myself going to sleep after 2am. A couple of hours later as my daughter was peacefully sleeping with IV fluids (finally) I got sick. I finally succumbed to the evil illness that had hit the children. Sorry, but to illustrate my point, I had serious stomach issues. It was not pretty. Remember how I had nothing with me? Even worse when you are sick with stomach issues.
So now, I over prepare. In fact, I keep a list in my closet to remind me what to grab when I’m in a hurry and can’t think straight. I can usually pack in five minutes and it saves a lot of drama having to have family and friends bring me things from home. This is on my list…
– Whichever kid’s meds (and a written list, which you should have anyway to hand over)
– Stuffed animal
– Snacks and juice (if they can, I feed the kids on the way because they can’t eat usually once in the queue)
– Cell phone/charger
– Tooth brushes/tooth paste
– Sweatpants/shirt to sleep in (for me)
– One set of clothing for each of us
– Notebook (for questions/information from doctors)
– Records? (I used to bring these, I don’t need to anymore since they are followed closely at the same hospital)
One of the most important things to bring with you? Your patience. Hospital time is an Alternate Universe. If they say 15 minutes, they mean 45, if they say you might get out the next day, do not count on it. If they tell you a test or treatment will be happening at a certain time, it’ll probably be worth your while to lower your expectations about when that will really occur.
There, I said it. Lower expectations. Not on care or anything serious, but mostly just time. Like I said, in the Alternate Universe, Hospital Time is completely different. It will help to embrace this concept.
What do you bring that I’ve not included here? Fess up? What’s your hospital trip item you don’t want to be without?
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