I have done some long stints as caregiver in hospitals. It is not easy for me to sit in the same room for very long. It is almost torture if there is no window. I have learned some tricks to help me maintain my sanity as I stay with a beloved patient.
Plan ahead for your stay, not just the patient’s. Pack their supplies of underwear, house shoes, medications (or at least a list) and a decent toothbrush. Games, puzzle books and uplifting reading materials will be needed. Coloring is a soothing activity under stress. Drawing and doodling are good, too.
Your bag needs PAPER and PEN. You will be writing EVERYTHING down. Then pack healthy snacks, several bottles of water-based drinks. These can be diluted with water to stretch your supply. Vending machines take cards now, so coins will not be needed.
You may want your own small blanket and pillow.(I have never met a hospital pillow I liked.) Sleeping in the hospital is challenging. The small blanket is to cover your head for dozing and crying. I am shameless about this. If the blanket is over my head…LEAVE ME ALONE.
For extended stays you may want to break out the rolling luggage. Carrying dirty clothes out and clean clothes in gets old fast, so give your back a break.
I always carry wipes for my face and hand sanitizer for my hands. I hate feeling dirty. I recommend stripping down at the door of your home as you return. No point in importing germs.
Some hospitals have good food, but many do not. Limit your intake of junk food by packing healthy snacks. Limit sugar and caffeine. No point in being jacked up with no where to go.
Walk as much as possible. I paced the hall back and forth in front of the door. Find windows to look out of. Do not stay trapped in the room. I did have a meltdown from camping out in Rose’s room for too long. It felt like the world had disappeared and we were alone and isolated.
Be careful what you watch on the television. Do not get sucked in to daytime drama. Limit movie marathons. Too much screen time messes with your mind. Play catch with a roll of toilet paper if you must, but do something active and tactile, not just visual and auditory. If the patient requires a high volume to hear, get ear plugs.
I could go on and on here. There is no way to make a hospital stay fun. Just do your best to maintain your health and sanity. Get a family member to tag team with you, even if just to go home to shower and scream.
Mama Flow in the Know