Oct 30 2008
Our latest little adventure isn’t the kind of trip any of us plans with our kids: a trip to the hospital. My five-year-old son was feeling under the weather yesterday, so I took him to the doctor. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to the hospital.
Unfortunately, I’ve been a hospital mom a few times before. Fortunately, all were short stays and our kids made full recoveries. For those who haven’t had a child hospitalized before, here are some things I’ve learned:
- Trust your parent instincts. If your kids are sick, you usually know when to take them to the doctor. Likewise, you’ll probably have a gut feeling that they’re going to need to be hospitalized.
- Keep a toiletry bag packed at home at all times. Mine’s always packed for overnight trips, with extras of all my daily necessities. When I had to call home and tell my husband what things to bring, I didn’t have to list individual items, just to grab my black bag.
- Sometimes it seems like things in the hospital move very slowly, especially the admissions process. Even though I’d answered a bunch of pre-admission questions, it still took over an hour to get fully settled in our room and for the nurses to get everything set up and entered in the computer for our stay.
- If you need something, ask for it. Don’t suffer in silence, thinking you’ll interrupt the nurses. Be polite but assertive in what you need.
- You’ll probably only see your doctor for a few minutes each day, so write down any questions or issues you need addressed by the doctor so you’re ready when they make their rounds.
- The nurses will be taking care of the day-to-day care. Ask questions and pay attention to what they do so that you can best participate in your child’s care.
- Find someone to take over the care of your other children so you can concentrate on your sick one and not worry about the details at home.
- Convertible chair-beds aren’t the most comfortable, but they’ll do in a pinch so that you can stay with your child overnight.
- Try to find out what time various people will be stopping by the room, so you don’t step out at a bad time. At our hospital, lab personnel, respiratory therapists, and doctors usually come early in the morning. A shower can wait until later.
- If it’s quiet and your child is resting, get some sleep yourself. You never know if you’ll get a good night’s rest the next night.
My son seems to be doing well, and hopefully we’ll go home later today or tomorrow morning. Right now, he’s enjoying playing with the controls on his bed, so I can tell he’s feeling better than yesterday.
Hospital-veteran parents, do you have any tips to add to this list?