I know I have some hospital-veteran readers, at least on occassion, and we are about to gear up for a hospital stay here in the near future. This is the calm before the storm, so to speak. Josh goes back to work tomorrow, and we start with this week's round of appointments, which might end with her hospitalization...if not, it will be the following week. I'm trying to get prepared. And so, I look to you for help in my preparations...even if you aren't a hospital-vet, you input is much appreciated.
What do I need to take care of here at home before we go?
Is there anything I need to do in advance in anticipation of my not being here?
What should I pack and bring with us?
How do you entertain a 20 month old in the hospital for a long period of time, especially when they are running batteries of not-so-enjoyable tests?
Does this sound like a workable scenario?
I will have my mom watch Nathan during the day while Josh works, take him to and from school, and Josh will pick him up when he is off of work, they can come visit at the hospital, and then the two of them will go home. I'm just planning on being there for the duration.
Is there anything I need to know?
Thanks in advance!
I am definitely a "hospital mom"...not a label I thought I would ever have, but it is one that I "wear" with pride:). My child had a liver transplant at 7 mths. and has a weakened immune system because of it....she also has a posible genetic syndrome...so we have run the whole gammit. Anyway, with your husband being home during the nights I would say that he can do many of the things that need to be done at home. We are 10 hours from our hospital so we always have to find someone to feed the dogs, and we ALWAYS make sure the fridge is cleaned out. Here is a list of things I would take to the hospital:
1. Take a "White noise" maker
2. Make a "Shhhh...(Child's Name) is sleeping" sign for the door.
3. Take a deck of cards
4. Take stamps, stationary
5. Bring magazines
6. Bring a camera - not everyone goes for this. But we do.
7. Bring ATM card or Debit Card.
8. Bring any and all lovies.
9. your own pillow and blanket
10. Bring bed type activities for the child... dolls, blocks, etc. Also check into the child life center at your hospital...they usually have many toys that your child can play with.
11. Bring a heavy duty bottle of sanity.
12. Portable DVD player. MP3 or CD player with external speakers is also a good idea.
13. Bring a picnic basket. (Don't laugh - this way I know that those dishes are clean. And it's just fun to have a picnic.)
For your child I would ask about movies. Every children's hospital has many movies to choose from. Also, wagon rides around the hospital are a wonderful way to pass the time. Even if she is hooked up to an IV...they can work it out for you.
Ask about EMLA cream for any pokes (IV, Blood draws, etc.)...it numbs the skin and makes it easier for them.
Good luck! How long will you be inpatient? We'll be thinking of you!
I'm going to add portable snacks (like granola bars and juice boxes) for yourself. Some new toys to bring out periodically might help distract her - we use $ store toys for things like that.
As for at home: you could either throw some dinners into the freezer right now for when you are at the hospital OR stock up on things like soups and the like for your guys at home. It sounds like there's not going to be a lot of time for making supper, so it would be good to make it easy for Josh. You could also wrap up some little $ store things for Nathan with notes for while you're gone..
Oh, gosh I don't know, but these toher two lists above me sounds very thorough. I would also bring antibacterial wipes, because I'm a germ-o-phobe when it comes to hospitals.
What about a stroller, so you can go on walks.
I bought myself 3 pairs of track pants, t-shirts, and cuddly hoodie sweatshirts to wear during my son's stay. Clothes that you can function OR sleep in. My son lived in footie pajamas after his wires and tubes were disconnected. I agree with the previous 3 commenters on all their suggestions. Our children's hospital had wagons or rocket ride-on toys that we could attach IV trolleys to. I second the suggestion to bring your own blanket and pillow for you and cuddly blankets for KayTar.
As far as home goes...since your husband will be there, I don't think you have to do much. My husband was with us in hospital, so we had my parents do pet/mail/house check duties before they came down to visit every day. I also paid bills for the two weeks after surgery, 3 days before we went down. I didn't want to sit down there and wonder "Did I pay that???".
Bring a bottle of your asprin or your favorite over the counter pain medication -- for you. I always get headaches when I am there. Oh, and your laptop.
A few more things I would recommend for you would be a small notebook with two pens, lotion (the soap is usually harsh), emory board, a phone # list in the notebook (I rely a lot on my cell phone for phone numbers and they usually ask you to turn them off),any self meds you might need like antihistamines, motrin ect or sanitary supplies. Something that mattered to me was a note on her bed in case I had gone to the phone or such that said she could not receive any treatment while asleep. I also had it put on her chart. It meant that she was going to scream and fight them but I wanted her to know that it was safe to fall asleep.
Great lists so far. I have a few things to add. The first is button down shirts for KayTar. If she'll be having an extended EEG, which should be warranted, nothing will be able to go over her head. You hate to keep the kids in the same shirt for multiple days.
Along with the big bottle of sanity someone suggested, make sure you are ready to advocate. If you aren't happy about something, or they aren't answering your questions, or you are feeling like the nurses aren't keeping good tabs, SPEAK UP.
Most hospitals have a kitchen room where you can put labeled items into a fridge. This way you aren't stuck eating hospital food all the time.
If you don't have a portable DVD and don't want to buy one, find out if the room has a VCR or DVD player and pack movies accordingly. Pack books. With the EEG leads she will have limited mobility, you may not be able to leave the room. I know when Austin was in for his 5 day pre-surgical testing, we were confined to the room for the full five days, except to go to testing.
It's long, but it's manageable. Good luck!
Don't forget to take the charger for your cell phone. I always seem to forget that.
You've gotten great ideas so far: some comfy clothes for you, and maybe some slippers, too, so you can take your shoes off and be comfy. A little reading light, so you can read while KayTar is sleeping without disturbing her. And do you like listening to music? Some kind of portable music system (iPod, walkman) might be good.
Check what child life services might provide. Our children's hospital had videos in every room, and they dropped off a nice little bunch of toys our first night.
You might want to arrange for a friend to come be with you some of the time, too, which can help support you and also help you keep details straight and/or advocate. Your husband will help in that regard, too, of course, but backup is good!
And a pad or notebook to write down questions as they occur to you can be good, too.
Entertaining Curious Girl in the hospital wasn't much different from entertaining her anywhere else (although we have never had a truly extended stay). But think about how you entertain at home and pack a few of those same kinds of toys or whatnot.
Walking through the hallways was a nice enough distraction for us at some point.
Wow, lots of questions so as a hospital veteran, here goes:
1) Things to take to the Hospital-I keep a list in an excel spreadsheet of things to take to the hospital, that way, in case of an emergency, I can pack quickly and be ready to go. I'd be happy to send you the list, but I couldn't find your e-mail (I tried email@example.com and it returned it as a failure).
The first things to take is your medication list for your child-I keep mine printed in a Word document. They will ask you for a medication list and it's easier to give them a copy. Keep a list for yourself so you can give your child the meds. Ask the doc if you can give your child your own meds and they can sign off on it as soon as you get there. Sometimes hospitals will use a generic when you give your child a brand and when you have seizures that aren't controlled, I don't like to change anything.
Bring a spiral notebook and pen. At the beginning of every year, I write the current year on the outside, "2006" and then record any doctor visits or hospitaliztions inside. I take this spiral and write the date she was admitted and then what tests they did that day. I also write any questions I have for the docs (since you are never sure when they will be around) and also document any calls from the insurance company. The second day, I will ask the docs about the test results from the first days test.
Next, bring any clothes you need, including workout clothes in case you get a chance to take a walk to relieve some stress. Bring some clothes to sleep in, making sure you are completely covered, so to speak, in the case of a video EEG. Sometimes the "camera" may get "you" in the video since you cot is next to the bed. This prevents anything showing. LOL!
I bring my own food including cereal bowl, utensils, plate and mug. It's often hard to find these items at the hospital or they are out. Make sure your bowls and plates are microwaveable. It can be expensive to eat three meals a day on a daily basis, especially when you go over a few days.
To prep for your visit, have things in your freezer that you can "grab and go". For example, I make oat bran muffins and freeze them in twos in zip loc bags. I can grab them and take them to the hospital. Mine are 100 calories each so it's a lot less calories than anything you'll buy there. I make a turkey and freeze the white breast meat in 3 oz bags so I grab a bunch of bags and I am ready to go. That can be a main meal or I can chop it up to add to salads or make a sandwich with it. You get the idea. I bring my spinach for salads and lots of fruits. Fresh fruit can be very expensive at the hospital. You'll want to find out if they have a refrigerator in your room you can use or if it's a community refrigerator on the floor-then you'll have to label your food.
I bring minimal clothes for my child since they are in hospital clothes (pjs) while they are there. Just a coming in and going home outfit. I bring my child's favorite toys with me to the hospital.
Bring toiletries for yourself and your child. Make sure you work from a list or you may forget something like a hair dryer!
Bring enough cash for parking. There are often coupon books you can purchase which are a better deal.
As far as what to do at home-I have routines printed out at home for morning, afternoon and evening-things I do each day. That way, if your husband or mother is watching your other child at home, they know precisely what is done at each time of the day, to make things easier. Do a little cooking ahead of time and bring your favorite foods to the hospital. Put clean sheets on your bed so that when you get home they will be fresh. A good web site to visit is www.flylady.net and you can get information on creating routines, as well as a weekly home blessing (cleaning).
Lately, I have been bringing my own blanket from home since it's nice to have something from home and it makes it easy to distinguish from the hosptial linens.
Finally, pack up everything you need in your roller suitcases to make it easy on yourself.
I know this was long, but trying to be helpful.
As a follow up to my last comment, if you would like those lists, send me your e-mail addy at firstname.lastname@example.org
My must haves are:
Comfy clothing for you. I keep on hand one extra set of clothing besides the one on me. We only live an hour away so when my husband comes to visit he brings me new clothing and takes the dirty away. I like to pack light because there is not that much room in the hospital room.
Portable DVD player. They may have movies for your child but then they may not, I like to ensure that I have what I know my son will watch. I always get him new DVDs before a long hospital stay. I also bring a few DVDs for me to watch with ear phones during the night.
New or new to them toys. I like to keep a few fun and surprising toys on hand. It helps keep the child busy and gives them something to look forward to.
I bring knitting and books for me.
I keep some change on hand with a small amount of money but try to leave most of my wallet at home just in case someone decides to steal something.
Bring a blanket from home. It will comfort her to be able to smell home when she is trying to sleep.
Slippers are a must have. The socks they hand out at the hospital are pretty lame and are not very good at preventing slipping.
Bring your own sippy cups and dish soap to wash them. The hospital will not have much to accommodate her specific drinking needs. Also bring any other special eating utensils.
That is about all I can think of right now. Good Luck!
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