What to Do in Illness: Stay at Hospital

One thing you can do for someone who is in the hospital is stay with them. It’s not much fun to spend day and night alone in the hospital staring at the ceiling or the wall, watching bad television, and being lonely. Here are some suggestions for

Staying at the hospital

Offer to sit with the person who is ill. Find out if the spouse or parents need/want to be somewhere at a specific time each day. Arrange for someone in the HF [group] to be at the hospital for that amount of time every day. Or ask the person who is ill what times would be best for someone to come and spend a longer period there.

If you are sitting with a person in the hospital:

•dress for a hot room and bring a sweater. The patient’s system won’t be regulated the same way yours is.

•bring a book or something to occupy yourself if the patient is not up to talking.

Do ask though. When I was in the hospital with M the meds interfered with my brain and I couldn’t watch a half hour show on TV because I couldn’t remember what was happening for that long. I enjoyed having visitors, but if they stayed long I didn’t know when they had arrived or what we had already talked about. In that case, I guess, I was much like a patient in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s or some such. I enjoyed people coming, staying a short time, and, when they returned, telling me that they had been by yesterday or whenever.

But don’t go if you’re going to be a negative drain. I have a good friend who I adore to this day (the N who watched my children two posts ago) who cannot be in a crisis situation without telling you of one that was worse or ended badly or… So when I knew she was coming I would tell the nurses to let her in, but to get her to leave before I fell apart. They were great about it.

Other posts on this topic:
What to do in Illness: Talk
What to do in Illness: Gifts
What to do in Illness: Children
What to do in Illness: House
What to do in Illness: Visiting
Others’ Suffering and What to Do