Sunday, 2 November 2014

How to Survive in Hospital

After my recent four week stay in hospital I thought I'd share some tips on how to survive in hospital. 

1. The first huge thing is to get yourself a pair of earplugs and possibly a sleep mask and keep them in your handbag so if you're admitted in an emergency you know you have the tools to create quietness and darkness. I've stayed awake all night before now. 

2. Bring some home comforts. I'd suggest you bring your own pillows as you'll only be given one in hospital and they aren't the comfiest things. Small ones are good after surgery to prop yourself up into a good position that keeps the weight off any sore spots. I usually use a teddy bear under my arm to make my pacemaker site more comfy as they're softer, nicer and designed to be hugged! 

3. Bring your creams. It might seem like a strange luxury for hospital but I find my skin gets very dry and my elbows particularly get dry and sore from the stiff, starched sheets. It really feels good to put on some nice face cream, some good scented body creams and a good heavy duty dry skin cream for those extra dry bits (try a cream designed for ecsema or dermatis, although nothing medicated as they will lock it away if they see it.)

4. Find a bath and throw your bubble bath straight in. I find baths so much easier for keeping chest wounds/cannulas dry. Run it shallow if you're worried and relax. Get all the sticky residue from plasters and ecg stickers off and you'll feel so much more human. I brought in Lush bath bombs and came out smelling of flowers. It really makes a difference when you have to stay in for such a long time. 

5. Don't be afraid to ask for things. Ask to go down to the hospital Cafe for an hour or even outside if you feel up to it. If you're uncomfortable ask for a different mattress or for a cannula to be moved into a more comfortable place. Usually, nurses are only too happy to help. 

6. Load a tablet with stuff to watch/listen to/play. Most hospitals have free wifi. If that's the case, I recommend subscribing to Netflix or LoveFilm even if it's just for the time you're in hospital. Sign up to Spotify or an equivalent to listen to music or find a radio app. Download catch up service apps for the channels you watch most. If you don't have Internet then you can always buy films to keep on your tablet. Check any DVDs you own as some come with a digital copy, which you can download onto your laptop or tablet without having to repurchase. Find a mixture of games that use Internet and simple games you can play without as some parts of the hospital where you may be waiting for tests might have poor or no connection. Just don't forget to pack your chargers and go over your settings so that your device's battery is not being drained by anything running in the background. 

Some other essentials! 

A variety pack or a box of your favourite cereal makes breakfast a bit more interesting. A little squash bottle is super handy to jazz up your water, which isn't the tastiest or coldest tap water! Lip balm is a must, a like a nice smelly one you can put on your oxygen masks or tubing to mask the smell of plastic. If you're set on doing your own meds a useful tactic is to use pill boxes so the doctors don't have any choice other than to let you do them yourself because none of the nurses will know which drug is which. You come across super organised too and they know you know what you're doing so they'll be much more likely to be happy with the arrangement. 

I think that's all the tips I have, I hope some of these might be useful if you have to go to hospital for any reason. (Although I hope you don't!) 

Thanks for reading, updates coming soon but I'm enjoying being home! 

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