A Guide To Staying Sane While Your Kid is in The Hospital
BY ETAN MUSKAT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Surasak Sootthikarn © 123RF.COM
Feb 7, 2017
There’s nothing quite so scary as being at a hospital for your kid. In the three or so years since becoming a parent, I’ve spent more time at hospitals than I had in the previous 20. This is not because my kids are unwell — in fact, they are thriving — but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.
There’s a lot of uncertainty, and I wish I’d known better what to expect. So here are a few tips on how to best make it through the long hours of hospital time.
Remember To Eat
Bring what you can, meals and snacks. Eat what you can. If you’re there for many hours, a good idea is to leave the hospital and get something that you can’t get in the cafeteria or food court. Eat when you’re hungry. Get your strength when you can. Go easy on sugar, but don’t go without it.
Don't Overdo It On Caffeine
Fight the temptation to drink 20-30 cups of coffee a day. Coffee helps because it makes you feel slightly on edge and ready for something. It is comforting in its agitating way. Again, go easy, but not without.
Try To Sleep
If you’re there overnight, sleep when you can. Sleep is hard because you may not have a bed. But do try to sleep. You will need it.
Seek Out Information
Ask a lot of questions. Doctors are there to help, but they are also very busy. You may only get a few minutes of their time. If you think of a question ahead of time, write it down.
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Get Some Air
Go outside for a walk. It can be scary to do this because you’ll be afraid to miss something. But do do it, it is worth it.
Have A Lifeline
Make sure you have someone to reach out to. This can be a challenge because a lot of the people who are close to you will be worried and they will want to know the situation, and you could end up having to take care of them. Make sure you have someone who is there for you.
This is only possible to a point. You will do a lot of waiting, and you’ll need to take your mind off the stress and worry from time to time. Music is good. TV is good, as long as it offers only the narrowest range of human emotion. Puzzles are good. Movies are probably too long. Books are often too demanding. Avoid the news, it is unreliable.
If you have other kids, the best thing to do is find care for them and let them stay home. It will be better for you, and better for them. Call them when you have a moment, it will be nice to hear their voice.
Don't Forget Hygiene
Clean yourself. Wash your face, brush your teeth. It’s okay to get a little gritty, it will make you feel tough.
Overall, the key is to keep yourself as functional as possible. You probably won’t relax, but you don’t want to wear yourself out. The thing is, not everything turns out okay, but a lot of things do. Remember: there is so much you can’t control, and that’s probably the hardest lesson for a parent to learn.
So take care of yourself. Someone has to.
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