Things I learned or remembered while in the hospital
Wash your hands. I washed mine and used the hand sanitizer until they were red and crackly. But they were always clean and I didn’t bring home any extra illnesses.
Be your own patient advocate. Docs and nurses are busy busy busy. They’ll forget a dosage or maybe even give the wrong one. Check every time or have your loved ones do it. Write a list of questions so you don’t forget during doctors’ rounds.
Have faith in your body’s ability to heal. It’s always working hard for you. And same with doctors: trust but verify. Believe the protocol is working and trust the people administering it, but don’t forget number two.
Docs/hospitals make zero connection between what they feed you and what’s happening in your body. I learned this years ago but was starkly reminded when I saw stage 4 cancer patients eating ice cream. I get that at a certain point people should eat whatever they want, but isn’t it common knowledge that cancer loves sugar?
Laugh when you can and keep a light heart. Gallows humor isn’t for everyone, but it helped me get through a rough time. My sense of humor, oddly enough, came roaring back during this time.
Don’t pay for a private room. Hospitals are lonely places, especially at night. Your roommates can keep you sane. Human connection is everything when you’re sick.
Sleep when you can, because it’s hard to get rest in that setting. They’re up your butt all the time: take your temperature, take your medicine, here’s some food, here’s a shot (and not the fun kind). And they wake you up at 6am for no reason!
Bring some comforts from home. Everyone made fun of me, but I had my hub bring me an essential oil diffuser and it helped keep me sane. And people loved it. (There was NO fresh air— the window didn’t even open a crack!)
Music and earphones will keep you sane. Meditations, music, cat videos.. whatever brings you joy.
This was a new one: if you ever want all your Tupperware back, get admitted to hospital.
Really think about who you tell, at least at first. You’re in there to rest and recover, not worry about other people’s feelings about your illness or to get loads of visitors.
Use it as a wake up call. Life is precious, and even if you believe we have many lives, you’ll only have this one once. Who was it who said, ‘Nothing focuses the mind like a hanging’? Get your priorities straight.
Always have a will, even if it’s not finalized. No matter how old you are. Even if you don’t have kids.
Once you’re out, you’ll appreciate the little things again: your own bed, a hot shower, fresh air. Good health of course! Appreciating the little things in life allows for more goodness to come in. I can’t emphasize this enough. The little moments in life are all we have, really. That and love. Appreciate those you love. Friends, family, your pets. Love is why we’re here, after all.