If you have a chronically ill child, you may end up spending quite a bit of time in the hospital. This is a blessing and a curse. Many of the stays will have you feeling both happy and sad. You will be happy because your child is safe and cared for, but sad that you are in the hospital again. I’ve been through the hospital more than a few times, and I realize there is a lot of information that is never really shared. Parents are patients too. We are also in the hospital with our child. When our kids are babies, it is easier to leave the room. However, as our kids get older, they become more resistant to us leaving. It becomes more and more difficult to be get food or your essential needs met. I’ve put together a list of items that are must haves for my husband and I when we are in the hospital.
- Have a hospital bag packed
Kids with chronic illness can get sick very quickly, and you will have very little time to act when you are in the midst of crisis. Having a bag packed and stored in your closet will save you a lot of time of running back and forth to the hospital. This has proven helpful for us because we now live 40 minutes from the hospital. In the bag, we have socks, under garments, basic toiletries, pajamas, extra shirts, and pants. We always bring it with us when we are off to the hospital. It is difficult to be certain when you will be admitted, and this will reduce one level of stress as you care for your child.
2. A Snack Pack
Hospital cafeterias will become tiresome and they aren’t always open when you are hungry. Not only that they are very expensive. Most Children’s Hospital Rooms will include a small refrigerator that you can use as a family member. Most floors will also have a lunch room that have microwaves, refrigerators and freezers. Having a snack pack full of quick easy snacks and microwaveable foods will save you in a pinch. Emergencies can happen in an instant in the hospital, and they do not always cooperate with cafeteria hours. More than a few times we found ourselves at the end of the crisis completely exhausted and with no access to food. If your friends want to help you, the best thing to ask for is a care package that includes easy boxed foods, dried or fresh fruits, and microwave meals. You will ensure your belly is never empty while trying to care for your child.
3. Extra Phone chargers
Hospitals are dungeons of thick concrete walls that have a ton of technology running through the building. You will find yourself stuck in electronic vortexes where you will run your phone battery in to the ground. Having access to your phone or Tablet will be a critical way for you to stay connected with friends and family while you are in the hospital. Make sure you pack an extra phone charger. It can make communication impossible when your phone goes dead. Not to mention you will have HOURS to burn sitting by your child’s bed. Phones/Tablets can provide you hours of entertainment as you sit with your you child as they recover.
4. An Inflatable Bed
Your child will have a nice bed that is soft and full of nice blankets. You will be stuck with a small couch that is hard as a rock. If you are married or have a spouse, forget about the two of you fitting on it together. One of you will be relegated to the small chair that folds in to a make shift bed. Neither of these sleeping “devices” will render you a decent nights sleep. The best thing we did was invested in a blow up bed. They aren’t even that expensive. Ours was less than $40, and it came with the pump. Most Children’s Hospital rooms will be large enough to squeeze one of the beds on the floor. Don’t forget to pack an extra set of sheets and some pillows. The sheets and blankets provided to parents will be thin and and will provide you no warmth. We also pack small throw blankets in our suitcase when we have a long stay.
5. Flip Flops and Slippers
These are ESSENTIAL. Hospital floors are very, very cold. You will want something to provide you a barrier between your feet and the floor. They are also not the most sterile places, so having your feet protected will save you from any bacteria floating on the floors. We found ourselves taking showers in public showers at the end of wards, and while they appear clean the best place to pick up a plantar wart or athletes foot is at a public shower. The Hospital floors are super cold at night and having a pair of slippers as you run to the bathroom will save you a ton of time in digging for your socks.
If you follow these simple instructions, your stay should be a little more comfortable. It’s never fun to be in the hospital, but we’ve found ways to make it tolerable. I hope you are able to find use in the information.