What you need during your child’s hospital stay

 I know LJ and I don’t visit the hospital near as often as some, but I feel qualified to be able to contribute some sort of list when taking your child for a hospital stay.

For your child

  • Toys – Many hospitals have toys that you can borrow, but the familiarity of toys brought from home can bring comfort to your child those first few days (or hours).  When they get bored, then bring in the hospital toys!  For us, since LJ is younger, I just rotate them out so things seem new to him.
  • Blanket/stuffed animal/blanket/comfort toy – LJ uses a weighted blanket to help him sleep.  This also worked great to keep him fussing with all the lines he was hooked up to.  Bring anything you think will help your child sleep and feel more at home.
  • One to two sets of clothes – You could probably go with just one.  Bring something loose and comfy.  Most of the time, they’ll probably have to wear a gown and the clothes will just be for when they go home.  Hospitals usually provide gowns and warm slipper socks.
  • Adaptive equipment – Depending on why your child is being hospitalized will make this vary.  We bring our wheelchair, soft spoons, nuk brush, Benik vest, and hand splints.  Last time we barely used the wheelchair because LJ was just too sore.  But these things tend to make our stays easier.

No need for diapers, wipes, or medication.  The hospital will provide all of these, especially medications… they want all those things to go through the pharmacy so they can track what your child has gotten.  Most hospitals also provide a toothbrush and toothpaste for your child, but if they’re particular, then you may just want to bring theirs!

For the parents
For our family, I usually stay at the hospital and Louie stays at home with Noah.  They’ll visit us daily and bring little treats… but here are my essentials.

  • Cellphone AND charger – Cellphone doesn’t work so well when it’s not charged.  Most hospitals let you use your phone inside now.
  • Laptop – A lot of bigger hospitals have WiFi for guests.  And if not, I still recommend bringing it.  Bring the game you never get to play (Sims 3 for me) or play many of the games already loaded.  Or think ahead and download some games before hand!  Don’t forget the power cord.  Also, an iPod would probably be awesome.
  • Clothes – Bring comfortable clothes.  Nurses and doctors don’t care what you look like and you won’t either after a day or two.  I recommend also bringing some easy slip-on shoes and socks with those grips at the bottom so you can get up in the middle of the night and not worry about shoes or slipping.  Trust me, there are many times you’ll be up in the middle of the night, whether it be from a nurse or a random alarm buzzing.  Also, bring a sweater.  Many rooms have their own temperature control but it still get’s cold!
  • Towel – This isn’t really a must, and for people who don’t use their towel more than once, it might not be practical to pack towels, but the towels at hospitals are itty bitty.  And if I say that (being all of 5 feet tall) you know they’re small.
  • Books/magazines – I’m a book-worm so this is a must.  Head to your local library a few days ahead or pick up some magazines if you aren’t in to heavy reading.  Just bring something.  You’ll want it when you can’t sleep or over breakfast!
  • Food – Many hospitals now have mini-fridges in rooms.  And have parent stations with coffee, forks and spoons, and a microwave.  If you’re broke, don’t rely on fast food or cafeteria food.  Bring your own microwavables or sandwich stuff.  Drinks and snack food too.  It’s amazing how hungry you get doing nothing.
  • Planner – Because life does go on and bills don’t wait.  Feel free to call your bill companies to arrange a later due date.  Most will be flexible when you tell them why.  Go ahead and bring a notepad too, because you usually have a lot of information to absorb.  And I guess you’re suppose to remember that stuff later.  Who knew?
  • Medication – No, they won’t give you Tylenol for that headache or supplement your birth control because you left it at home! 
  • Toiletries – Toothbrush and toothpaste (I hate using kids toothpaste), feminine products (although if you are in need and forgot, I’m sure you could ask a nurse), deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, basic makeup (because no one cares what you look like but after a few days, you’ll feel better having something on),  hair band/headband (for easy maintenance), brush/comb, and lotion.

Do you have any items I didn’t list that you bring for your child’s hospital visits?

Next up, tips and tricks for surviving your child’s hospital stay.

G-tube

It happened a lot faster than I expected.  Last week, we went to our very first G.I, after a small battle.  See, our surgeon already gave us the approval for surgery, but he wanted us to be sure of our decision, so there’d be no regrets.  Well, the day before, the Nurse Practitioner calls Louie and tried to finagle out of the appointment (ok, so it wasn’t on purpose but it ticked me off).  Long story short, she cancelled our appointment, without telling us.  It was pure chance that I caught it the evening before.  Then they tried to move the appointment to a different time, but I wasn’t having any of it.  At the end of our conversation, she told me frankly, “You know you’re seeing NP, not a doctor.” Yes, I knew this.

It was obviously an important appointment, since the doctor did indeed end up in the appointment with us.  We discussed the PH Study (surprisingly, normal…), his feeding habits, his recent gagging issues, his other conditions that would affect decisions regarding surgery.

In the end, we all agreed to do the G-Tube (feeding tube through the tummy).  It was scheduled the following Wednesday.  As in 2 days ago.  It was quite a scramble to get everything together. 

The surgery went well.  The first day was the hardest.  Typically, surgery sends you home the next day, but G.I. was concerned with re-feeding syndrome, which basically would lead to heart problems.  Surgery wanted to send us home the next day, even before the surgery, regardless of the note.  I made sure that didn’t happen, which got us switched to the G.I. team the next day.  They’ve been a lot more cooperative. 

I was nervous, scared, and excited.  I doubted myself even though I knew it was what we needed.  To take the pressure off, to have enjoyable meals, not worrying about calories.  But surgery is scary.

While we waited for him, I couldn’t help but feel this was only the beginning.  We’ve already been told by orthopedics that we need to do some tendon surgery for his hips but we postponed, wanting to give Botox a chance.  But mostly, we felt he was awfully young for such a procedure and would mark the beginning of many surgeries to come.

It’s a little unnerving to think how accustomed to hospital stays I am. 

Tomorrow, LJ will probably be discharged.  Tomorrow is also the 3 year anniversary of the first time we got take LJ home from the hospital, 2 weeks after he was born.  From the same hospital.  Just thinking about it fills me with mixed emotions.

A prayer was whispered everytime the chopper took off for the child they went to transport

 

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