Saturday, November 8, 2008

Having a Child in the Hospital

We have spent over 40 days in the hospital. I feel blessed because these were not 40+ consecutive days, it was ONLY 40+ days, we were close to the hospital so we could travel home when needed, we had family and friends there with us most of the time, and we got to bring our baby home and he's relatively healthy. Now, with all of that said, I do feel that I've learned a bit about having a child in the hospital. Here's what I learned (in totally random order):
- there will be great nurses, good nurses, so-so nurses, and crappy nurses. No matter what type of nurse you get, be polite and realize they have other patients. However, don't be afraid to speak up for something you or child needs, especially if it has to do with your child's health or comfort.
- the nurses don't come in and purposely wake you or your child, they are just doing their job
- doctor time is totally different than real world time so don't expect "we'll be back after rounds" to mean that they'll be back anytime soon. Doctors say, "in a while" and we think "an hour or two" and they may mean "4-5 hours"
- doctors are not God, they don't always have the perfect answer and you can (and should) ask as many questions as you can think of and write things down (or have someone do it for you)
- never feel bad when you question an order or a medication or whatever. This is your child and mistakes do happen. You are the last line of "security" between the wrong med or wrong whatever and your child.
- try to make your room as comfy as possible. If you're in PICU that may be hard but if you're in a regular room you can try to make things "homey" (just remember that housekeeping will/should be in daily to clean and they don't need/want to pick up your stuff)
- if you have your own bathroom/shower be very thankful! That's such a lifesaver!
- if you have a private room be very thankful!
- don't just wait for the nurse to come around, if you need something push the call button
- don't feel guilty asking for things that have to do with your child's health....that's the nurses' job
- don't expect to get a lot of rest while in the hospital especially with a little one
- ask someone to sit with your child and get out of your room at least once or twice a day. Try to get outside too.
- if you are comfortable with it, try taking over some of your child's care (diapers, feeding, etc). If your child has something (trach, feeding tube, etc) that he will be going home with, you're going to need to learn how to do it anyway so you might as well do it now
- ask questions if you don't agree with things, ask questions if you don't understand something, ask whatever questions you have and keep asking until you feel like you've gotten an answer
- don't assume that you will be "remembered". If a med is late or a treatment is late, politely ask the nurse "What time will he be getting X med?" or "What time will Y treatment be here"....a lot of times things have been forgotten
- you can't just sit back and assume that the nurses/docs will do/remember everything
- be aware of every med your child is on and what it's for. Write this down if needed. You should know what med he gets, how much of it, and when
- be respectful and follow hospital guidelines
- wash your hands. Bring or buy lotion for your hands and face and lipbalm. The hospital air is so very drying.
- remember to keep things in perspective. The whole time Grady was sick, we were reminded daily that there were babies/kids all around us that were sooooo much worse off.
- you can do all of what I just said and still be polite. You don't need to be crappy but if things do warrant it, don't be afraid to make a complaint.

Well, that's most all of what I learned being in the hospital with Grady. Hopefully I'll never get a chance to learn any more!

1 comment:

Beth said...

As a nurse I can rell you that a good nurse never resents a question as he/she will know that a question can sometimes prevent an error. Nurses are human and work at break neck speeds to get everything accomplished that is expected of them and we can make mistakes. It makes us sick when that happens so please - ASK! Ask! ASK! Families are part of our plan of care for each patient and we value your input. That said - Thank you, Mandy, for saying to treat us nicely. It makes the 12 hours so much easier to endure.