Monday morning I was taken to the Emergency Room by my husband because I could not breathe. Complications from a Pneumonia diagnosis we’ll say (since the Doctor’s still do not know what is going on). My heart rate was racing (take your potassium!), I was very low and I was a blubbering, confused, horrid mess. It was not a pretty picture and that is why you do not see it here!
In the last few days in the hospital, having been admitted from the Emergency Room, I have watched and listened and made notes as to what should be done when you are unexpectedly in the hospital. From the practical to the silly to the ‘purely for my entertainment’. I thought I would share my list with you now – just in case you need it one day:
1) Pack a bag. Let’s be honest. If you are in the condition where you are willingly going to the Emergency Room, just assume you will need a bag. I threw some stuff in a backpack and am so glad I did. A toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant – all for the staff’s benefit, of course – a change of clothes, my laptop and my power cords for that and my phone. And your current medications. Even if you go home, you will be glad you have these things!
2) Take a shower before you go. Seriously, this is for the comfort of the staff. Shave and make sure that you are as clean as you can. People get REALLYCLOSE to you in an emergency situation and they have to breathe. So try to make it pleasant. But don’t wear perfumes because that’s too much!
3) Wear pretty underwear. Just assume that if you are going to the ER, you will have to disrobe at some point. And no one wants to see the holey granny panties that you wear on laundry day! We are not talking Victoria’s Secret stuff, but something clean and nice!
4) Wear pants or take a sweater! These ER’s are COLD! I believe in an attempt to keep people from wandering around – just a thought – but it is cold. So I wore jeans and a warmer short sleeve shirt and was glad I did!
5) Take your patience and humor. Heading to to ER, being treated and then admitted can be tough! They are most likely poking and prodding you, putting things on you and touching places you had reserved for your significant other! Comments like, “they are a little lower” when they have to move your breast to attach a pad are just good fun!
6) Use your support system. I have three beautiful, very young girls. One of the reasons I did not get to the ER sooner – and probably made this worse – was because I was unsure of what I would do with them. My husband can’t just take endless time off of work. I need not have worried. My Mother in Law stepped up and has dropped her whole life to take care of my girls. And she is taking them places and making sure they are as happy as possible and not worried about Mom. Know that people are loving and wonderful and things will be taken care of!
7) Let people come visit. As a mom, it is just habit not to put anyone out. But, it can be lonely in the hospital. So when my friend, Heather (Freebies4Mom.com) wanted to come see me, I did not want her to take time away from her family but I needed some interaction. Not only did she come with a smile and conversation, she came with a bag STUFFED with goodies for me! Magazines, Larabar’s, Cokes, facial wipes, Chapstick, a pad and paper and so, so much more! All things I might need in a hospital! I was so touched and impressed and so happy she came to see me! The next day she brought me a smoothie! It has been a bright spot in this scary time!
8) R E S T! I took a nap yesterday for the first time in years. Yes, I have my computer and I am on it – obviously – but I did take the time. It is hard to get sleep in a hospital. They are in here every 2 -3 hours with IV’s, breathing treatments, vitals and more. Any sleep you can possibly get will only improve your chances of healing!
9) Be honest with yourself. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I put myself aside and let it get this bad. I have spent some time thinking about some things that will have to change in order for me not to have to end up here again. This has disrupted my kids, my husband, my in laws, my parents, my friends and every plan we had. I feel incredibly selfish for not taking the time I needed to heal when I could have. So things will be changing at my house to prevent this again! Nothing like a scare to put me straight!
10) Be grateful. I am so glad that I live in a time where pneumonia does not have to be a death sentence. I try to keep that in mind with every poke, prod and view of my hot pink granny panties by a Doctor, Nurse or anyone else who needs to be in my room. This is hard on everyone but it could be a lot worse. So I am trying to stay sane with my online life, answering my calls from concerned friends and family and really, really bad TV.
It is hard sometimes to predict when you might be hospitalized. And I could probably add more beneficial tips and such. But, based on my experience the last few days, this is what I have noted. And for my hard work, I now get to have some dreaded ‘Hospital Food’!
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