How to Stay Sane in the Hospital

I know this is a little different post than I usually do but I feel I have accumulated a decent amount of experience living in the hospital through the years to share some words of wisdom on the subject. When I wrote this, I was sitting in the hospital room on day 28 of admission for my daughter’s gene therapy. I honestly can’t count how many times Marley has been admitted to the hospital in the last 6 years, but I have always stayed with her. I’ve tried to Google tips and tricks for hospital stays for parents and it’s actually difficult to find (plenty of tips for kiddos though). Therefore, I decided I would just make my own tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way that’s kept me sane…

Be patient. This is the most important tip, trust this momma! There have been admissions where we waited days for tests or procedures to be performed, test results to come back, for insurance to approve medications. We have waited hours on NPO (which means she couldn’t eat or drink), only to find out they moved the test to another day. By being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience – Colossians 1: 11

Stay busy. Thankfully we’ve either always been aware when my daughter was getting admitted so we could pack accordingly, or the hospital has amazing programs that help kids stay entertained to pass the time. For you momma, take some books, take some college classes or crochet. Anything to keep your hands and mind busy.  I had a nurse tell me yesterday that there was a mom that actually learned how to crochet while sitting in the hospital and was able to sell her work to the children’s program here at the hospital.

Exercise. If you are in the hospital for an extended amount of time, stay movin’. I’ve found several sitting exercises on Pinterest. There’s also a lot of 5- or 10-minute workouts on YouTube. I just try to work it around when the nurses and doctors walk in during the day. Actually, thinking of it, exercising in the evening or at night may be better. It’s less likely you will get interrupted by them.

Be creative. If you are not creative, well…I feel you will learn. In the room we have now, we have a nice big window looking down on the front entrance of the hospital.  We each made bingo cards of things to find outside. We also do a lot of people watching. Make puppets with paper or do hand puppets. We have some flashlights in the room too, so we’ve done shadow puppets after dark. Watch a movie. Decorate your room. Paint. Color. Have a drawing contest. If all else fails, Pinterest ideas (I do this a lot too 😉 ). I’m also SO thankful for the Child Life program, they have volunteers that will come in and play with Marley.

Mail. Have your family and friends send care packages and surprise mail for your kiddo. Kids love snail mail! This will also give them something else to be creative with. I remember having a pen pal when I was younger, it was so fun to write back and forth.

Make a checklist. I’ve always told my daughter what is to come so she is aware and not caught by surprise. Making a checklist will help them prepare their mind and help their anxiety… a little. A little is better than nothing though.

Ask questions. Always ask questions, don’t feel they are stupid. Some (well okay most) doctors and some nurses don’t realize they are speaking code unless you say something. We had a nurse the other day usually all these acronyms but thankfully I’m an ‘un’ registered nurse hehe…which means I have accumulated info and done my own research through the years to figure it all out. But if you don’t know, ask!

Pray. This is equally important as patience. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus – 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

What to pack –

Packing for a hospital stay is sort of like packing to go camping in the winter. Like seriously, no joke! It’s so cold in all the hospitals we’ve stayed in (although I’m cold natured), so pack lots of sweaters and socks! If possible, your favorite pillow and blanket as well. If you will be on isolation or your hospital doesn’t have a patient kitchen, then you may need to pack your fav coffee creamer and sugar like I did. I live on Jesus and coffee! Also, pack lots of snacks, prepackaged fruit cups, applesauce and easy to prepare foods that will not need to be refrigerated. We actually have a small refrigerator in her current room but typically we don’t. Food can get expensive so this will be the cheapest and easiest way to feed yourself. Maybe not the healthiest buuuttt you’re exercising remember 😉.

Please share your tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way. I pray no one needs to use them, but always good info to have.