Getting Organized at the Hospital
Author: Shannon Miller
Article provided by SML guest blogger Tammy Badida
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a degree in medicine, so when I began hearing so many different things from many different doctors, it became overwhelming to me. Often the treatment plan would change daily, and honestly, there were days that I would leave the hospital not always understanding everything that I had been told.
I quickly learned that I would have to take notes and ask questions, and that none of my questions were too naive to ask. You are the one that will be taking care of your loved one when they leave that hospital (and in many ways, while they are still there), and you have to have a solid understanding of what is going on so you will feel comfortable. If I did not understand something, I would ask the doctors to please explain it to me again, and sometimes even again after that. In essence, I became my husband’s spokesperson. I learned to educate myself on certain terms the doctors would use by means of the Internet. Most of the doctors would leave me their business card, but if not, I would always ask for it. You will have no idea how valuable it is to be able to keep track of your loved one’s doctors, especially when you have a whole team of them visiting each day.
Many times my husband would not be able to communicate with me effectively due to medications and sheer anxiety. I found it important to request to be contacted if I was not there and something changed. I posted my contact number where everyone could see it in the room. I familiarized myself with the hospital and what they offered. Some hospitals will offer you printed schedules of upcoming procedures and appointments. Getting organized like this from the start can take a lot of pressure off of you, and even more off of the patient.
A little less than a month in, I found that I benefited greatly from taking just a little bit of time for myself to regroup, even at the hospital. Find a chapel if they have one, or some other place you can go to have some quiet time, to think, and to pray. I had wonderful friends that would offer to bring me lunch, and if at all possible, I took that time to eat, breathe in some fresh air, and just try to relax for a bit. The emotional exhaustion from sitting at a hospital every day is very real, and it will begin to take its toll without you even realizing it. You owe it to yourself and your loved one to take a moment, get out of the hospital room, and decompress. After a few days I started getting into a routine, something which provided a much needed sense of constancy amidst the seeming chaos. You will be amazed at the difference it can make.
“There are two approaches to the future: anxiety and optimism. One will make you dread tomorrow; the other will help you welcome it.” -Barbara Johnson, Daily Splashes of Joy
Article by Tammy Badida
Tammy’s story of “Learning to Live” during a life-changing battle has encouraged and reached so many already and can be found at: www.thebadidas.blogspot.com.