Roll with the punches

Here is the bad news that no one will tell you. Be prepared and accept before you go into hospital, that many things will be out of your control and there will be nothing that anyone can do to change them.

Sometimes it's hard not to let these things upset you. Becoming negative, frustrated or angry over something is pointless and only makes the situation more difficult for everyone around you.

The facts about hospital stays:

  • Wards are noisy, because they are full of sick people, staff and visitors.  If this is going to bother you, take in headphones or ear plugs, draw your curtains and do something to distract yourself, or go for frequent walks/wheelchair rides off the ward. 
  • Nurses are very good at night with their tiny torches and go about their business as quietly as possible.  They will poke and prod every hour to check IV lines, indwelling catheter tubes, to take temperatures and other observations. They are doing their best to take care of you: be mindful of why they are checking on you regularly and what might happen if they didn't.
  • IV machines and monitors will beep all night: ear plugs will help you have a better quality sleep. 
  • Alarms will go off on the IV machines every now and then and again may wake you up: try ear plugs.
  • People snore and fart in their sleep: try ear plugs.
  • The day starts at 6am at the change-over of nursing shifts, regardless of how much sleep you have had.
  • Someone will be rude to you at least once in the week. Spare a thought as to how much stress they might be under before you react.
  • There is no personal space and very little privacy.
  • Cupboards for your things are usually small and often do not have locks:  leave valuables at home.
  • Nurses are not chamber maids nor waiters, they are health care professionals and their main duty is to care for you and many others at the same time:  be mindful that there are often things that you can do to take care of yourself and take some of the work load off your nurse.  

Hospitals are not a hotel. Go into hospital with a clear understanding that the whole system is geared to take care of you and to get you back home as soon as possible.

Give some thought for others around you. Most people in hospital will be stressed, distressed, worried and unwell. When a person is not coping they are often unaware of others around them. So spare a thought for the distracted person who pushes past you to get out the lift, their personal journey might be one you wouldn’t want as your own.