Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Preparing for a hospital admission

I have been getting quite a few questions about our preparations for a hospital admission that is to be more than a night or two.  I thought I would take this post to tell you about what we do in preparation for our hospital stays.  This is the compilation of non-emotional preparation (because that could be a post in itself).

1.  Lists.  I have to mentally start preparing a checklist of things to take care of and pack as soon as I know about her admission.  Think about all of those errands and packing you have to plan for when you are going on vacation.  But then think about how much preparation you would need if you were going to be stuck in the hotel room without room service for the entire vacation.  Oh and you might have to sleep on the floor and will not have much access to showering.  That is kind of how it is at the hospital.  We have to plan for food and clothing and things to occupy us and L.  We have to think about comfort items for all of us.  We have to pack anything and everything we might possibly need because leaving L alone is not a possibility.  She has wonderful nurses and while she was a baby we used to leave without a problem because she was SO used to her nurses back then, things are different now and even escaping for a few minutes is out of the question.

2.  Laundry.  We get all of our laundry washed.  All of our bedding.  All of L's stuffed animals and blankets.  I want everything clean before we leave so things are ready for our arrival back home.

3.  Clean house.  We do a huge cleaning of the house the weekend before we leave.  It helps us organize everything leading up to the packing process and also ensures that the house is in good shape for however long we are gone.

4.  Grocery shopping.  We do a special trip for snacks and food we can keep in her room at the hospital.  Lots of granola bars, nuts, less-perishable fruit, drinks, etc.  We want to be able to eat something quickly in her room so we can stay energized and be there for L.  We also buy lots of easily digestible foods for L.  Things like cheerios and cereal bars and apple sauce pouches.  All things that she loves and can eat on the first day she will be allowed to eat again after surgery (probably post-op day 3).

5.   Pay bills/clean mail.  We need to make sure any bills that might come in while we're gone are paid.  We also know that when we arrive back home, we will have a stack of mail waiting for us to sort through.  It makes it easier to come back to that pile if we are up to date on all previous mail.

6.  Pack.  Lots of different types of packing.  We need to pack the obvious (clothes, toiletries, etc.).  But we also need to pack toys, food, a sleeping bag, pillows, blankets, and meds that Ian or I might need while there (tums, advil, cough drops, vitamins, etc.).  We also pack our camera and charger.  Finally, we have to pack certain meds for L.  While the hospital obviously provides her meds while she is inpatient, sometimes it takes awhile for the pharmacy to get her meds to us when we first arrive so we typically have to bring a dose of each of her meds so we can stay on schedule.  I also will pack my school things to stay on schedule with reading.

There you have it.  Lots involved with a planned hospital stay.  Obviously this list goes completely out the window if your hospital admission is unplanned.  But this is typically the process we go through to be ready.  At least physically ready.  The emotional side, well, I don't know if you can ever be ready emotionally.  Hope this provides clarity!

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