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staying in hospital tips?

(14 Posts)
elliejjtiny Mon 20-Jun-11 00:41:11

I'm going into hospital with DS3 on wednesday (5 months old, hypotonia, failure to thrive and reflux) for a few days for a ph study and for observations while they try and get his reflux under control. I can't stand hospitals (feel claustraphobic and hate being away from DH, DS1 (nearly 5) and DS2 (3)). I've been in for 2 nights a couple of times with DS2 at about the same age so I know that bringing your own duvet is essential and robinsons squash (cheap hospital squash is vile and I don't drink tea or coffee). I'm going to dig around in the bottom of the box of baby toys (3 babies = loads of toys) for some toys that ds3 hasn't seen as well as some old favourites. I've raided the charity shops for books and got some nice smelling soap.

Is there anything else I can do to make the situation a bit more bearable? I'm sure some of you have lots of experience of being in hospital. I'm breastfeeding so hospital food is provided and we should get a sideroom. I'm expecting to be on my own with DS3 most of the time as DH has aspergers and hates hospitals even more than me, especially when the nurse says the dr will be here in a minute and they are longer than that. He will probably drop me off, stay for 10 mins and then go.

DS1 is worrying about it all, partly because he is on the autistic spectrum and doesn't do change very well and also because his great grandad was in hospital recently when he had a stroke so he is worried about DS3. DS2 is feeling the tension I think but he doesn't really understand. DH of course has no idea what we are all fussing about and thinks I should be grateful for a few days with no cooking or housework and only one child to look after. Of course I will come back to huge piles of washing and chaos everywhere.

I know I'm lucky that it's only a few days and that we have avoided hospital admission for this long but I'm still dreading it.

pedalpants Mon 20-Jun-11 11:57:26

you sound really well prepared. I've stayed in hospital overnight and the worst thing was the lack of sleep, awful, but not much you can do about it. it's very humbling also seeing other children much iller than your own. I actually love hospital food that I haven't cooked myself! my only bit of advice would be to avoid having your other children visit in hospital. no matter how much you miss them it is generally not a good place for them to be and they will create chaos and stress you out (well that's what happened to me)

moosemama Mon 20-Jun-11 12:55:57

When I was in with ds2, I found handcream a godsend, as the handgel you have to use every five minutes really dries your hands out and I ended up with cracked hands before dh brought me some in.

I am so with you on the claustrophobia - I only left ds's room once in a week and that was to go to the nurses' station about three feet from the door.

The things I used most were an A4 pad and pen, to make a note of what the docs said, mind you I was 38.5 weeks pregnant at the time, so had no memory whatsoever (in our case we also used it to record ds's obs, as they wouldn't let me see his chart). Magazines, because I couldn't get into a book for worrying about ds and because of all the constant interruptions and general noise in there - and a book light, so I could read while ds was asleep. In retrospect a small battery powered light would have been a good idea, as the lights seemed to be blazing bright or off, nothing in between, no matter which combination of switches we tried.

I couldn't face the frankly dire food on offer, so dh brought me nice sandwiches from home and my favourite thing was to always have a punnet of lovely big juicy grapes, which were so refreshing as hospitals are always so hot.

I also got dh to bring in some anti-bacterial wipes, after I noticed the cleaners use the same cloth for the sink in his room, table and bedside cupboard as they did for the en-suite shower-room! shock

Money for charging up the TV/Phone card, if they have that system at your hospital, as well as your mobile charger. (We were allowed mobiles in side rooms.)

I'd also recommend a cushion or nice pillow as the chairs are anything but comfortable.

Finally, either an Ipod and speakers or earplugs if you want to get some sleep at night. I didn't use either, but have seen them recommended by others lots of time.

My ds1 also has ASD and we thought he was coping well, but had actually just shut down. sad First of all it was really tough on him because it was an emergency blue-light admission, so he had no warning, a massive change in routine and of course I was gone for a week for the first time ever. Turns out he was also terrified ds2 was going to die (so were we actually, but we thought we'd hidden it from ds1 well).

He wasn't allowed to visit ,as ds2 was quarantined, but was allowed to come with dh on the last day to bring him home. The relief in his face when he saw his brother playing with a train track was a sight to behold. He has never talked openly about it without us making him, I don't think he can cope with the emotions he feels when he thinks about it. It took him months to get over, but our situation was slightly different, because ds2 was critically ill at the time.

Would a social story about a baby going into hospital and coming home healthy and better help?

Hope it goes well and they manage to get your ds's reflex under control.

r3dh3d Mon 20-Jun-11 13:22:39

Do you know much about the ward you will be on? If not, worth phoning up and finding out what the facilities are. Eg where is the bathroom & will you need to pack slippers to get to it? Good to get a sideroom but you still may need to pack "respectable" PJs and something that does the job of a dressing gown (I use my cardi).

I tend to take a lot of bags. Partly luggage-type bags because the storage space is pitiful so I can stick all the overspill into one large bag that goes under the bed/cot and isn't in the way for the cleaners. And partly carrier bags for rubbish, laundry etc. Rope your visitors in to take away your laundry and bring clean stuff in! grin.

Although they do feed bf mums, what they feed them with is v variable. When I was pg with DD2 I was given the leftovers from the kids' trolley which in this hospital was invariably cold turkey twizzlers and chips and I put on loads of weight and got v unhealthy. So have backup food eg fruit or cereal bars or whatever. Breakfast is usually OK, because sliced bread and weetabix and bottles of milk are easy for them to store. It's after that it goes a bit pear-shaped.

shaz298 Mon 20-Jun-11 14:20:15

Ear plugs are a must. I usally use only one and sleep on the ear without. This way enough noise is blocked out to let me sleep but I can still hear DS if he needs me.

I always have loads of books, fresh fruit and make sure you get out of the hospital and get some fresh air, even if it's only for 10 mins.

We spent months in hospital so got really fed up. Portable DVD player, phone charger,very short haircut which is easy to manage smile

Oh and try not to wear black clothes - they get covered in white bits of the hospital sheets .....

If you're not very tall take a fold up foot stool to put your feet on.

Dress for the summer but make sure you have a warm cardi, as it does get chili at times.

probably not the kind of tips you were looking for but these were ther things which bugged me.

moosemama Mon 20-Jun-11 14:27:21

shaz, that's so true about the white bits off the sheets. I thought it was just our hospital - everything I wore was black and I spent the whole time feeling scruffy.

starfishmummy Mon 20-Jun-11 15:47:13

What everyone else says. Layers of clothes as I have found thet even in the summer hospitals can get cold at night; pjs or t shirt/leggings to wear in bed so that you are not exposing your bare behind to the ward (not me, but another mum!); flip flops for the bathroom.
Whenever I've stayed with DS towels were provided for the child but not the parent; also pillows tend to be at a premium so if you need more than one then take an old one with you.
Ask the ward if there will be facilities for you to make yourself drinks and whether you need to take tea/coffee milk etc or it if is provided as even in the same Childrens hospital we found it varied from ward to ward - a cheap mug is useful too.
Back at home I used to leave a pile of clothes on the spare bed - so that if I had to ask DH to bring anything I knew I would get stuff that fitted and was not falling to bits!

brandy77 Mon 20-Jun-11 16:04:56

ear plugs, pillow, portable dvd player if you have one, good luck. my son had a ph study when he was about 2, nightmare having to chase around after him with the battery/ph thing attached to the wire up his nose! Good Luck.x

growlybear Mon 20-Jun-11 16:05:44

I would definately second the dvd player.Take some films for you too then once ds is asleep you can watch.Thats what i did and i found it very cosy and relaxing.Maybe not very comfortable though iyswim.There i was all snuggled up on my bit of foam!!!!

elliejjtiny Mon 20-Jun-11 22:49:14

Thankyou so much. I went and bought a book light from waterstones today and will get some grapes tomorrow. No portable dvd player but DH is lending me his pocket pc and he is putting a few of my favourite films onto a memory card for me. Food in our hospital is ok mostly, cottage pie, chicken casserole etc. The bf and pg mums get a menu when the children do. The parent's kitchen is for both wards, HDU and the childrens assessment unit and there is bread cereal, jam, tea, coffee and milk available all the time with mugs, plates, bowls etc.

The first night I was in with DS2 was awful as they were trying to feed him by his recently inserted ng tube overnight which gave him tummyache (he normally slept through the night so wasn't used to it) and he was in a massive cot when he was in a moses basket at home. When he finally dozed off I couldn't because I only had one blanket and a really thin pillow. The next day DH brought DS's moses basket and mobile and a duvet and pillow for me and we had a much better night. I live next to a motorway so noise doesn't bother me as long as I'm comfy at night.

DS1 and DS2 are very used to hospital and on the children's ward they are fine as long as dh is there as well. When DS3 has been in for the day we alternate and one of us follows the older 2 around while the other one stays with ds3. If they didn't visit then DH couldn't either and I think I would go mad if nobody came to visit at all. On an adult ward they would be a nightmare though. The worst bit will be when it's time to go and they won't want to so if they cry when they leave I will get upset after they have gone. I have been showing DS1 photos of DS2 in hospital as a baby and everytime we walk past the maternity unit we talk about DS2 and 3 being born there which helps a bit.

Good thinking about the spare clothes on the bed. I keep a few in my dreams pre pregnancy clothes in my wardrobe and DH would have no idea what to bring. Hopefully there will be other parents in there on their own to talk to. Last time most children had both parents there all the time but there was one single mum there who said she liked being in hospital because she lived in a flat where she struggled to get the buggy up and down the stairs and she would often go for days without any adult company sad .

starfishmummy Tue 21-Jun-11 08:13:40

Hoipe it all goes well, ellejjtiny

zzzzz Tue 21-Jun-11 11:16:22

Only thing I would add is crocs or flip flops, I had 2 pairs one for round the ward and one for wearing in the shower. We were in for months and food was an issue. I had a mat so we could play on the floor by the bed and my own dettol spray [what can I say...if you want something done do it yourself!]. Music/video your child likes can be a god send if there is another child in pain near you. Plenty of bottled water made for an easier life....otherwise, ask if you can open windows and make sure you have your pushchair so you can walk outside if allowed and also so dc can be in its own place sometimes. I never let anything medical like bloods/exams take place in the pushchair so she knew she was totally safe in there. If you have a phone that takes photo's then sending goodnight photo's can make it easier for little left behind siblings.

shaz298 Tue 21-Jun-11 16:06:38

zzzzzzzzz you are dead right about the pushchair being used as a safe place. I forgot about that one. We just automatically do that one and have done since DS was very little. Now his wheelchair is the safe place. No-one gets to even look at him when he's in there. It's so important for them and unfortunately in hospital mummy's knee isn't always safe as it's us who have to hold them for the not so nice things .................. xx

elliejjtiny Thu 30-Jun-11 11:09:04

Thanks everyone. We were in wednesday to saturday. We were in a 4 bedded bay but we only had to share it on the wednesday as ds3 was the youngest by miles and the ward wasn't busy. They like to keep children of a similar age together when space permits it. It wasn't as bad as I expected although I was desparate for home cooking and my own bed by the end.

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