Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I love St Michael's and all but...

Being in the hospital is getting old! Very old! Oh...if you didn't know, because it was such a whirlwind trip, Ava just got out of the hospital. "What for?" you say. Respiratory problems, what else? OK get this..we tallied it up. Since Layton was 3 months old, that is 3 1/2 years ago, our children have collectively been hospitalized a grand total of 7 times! Seven times in 3 1/2 years, people! The nurses there know us, we're on first-name basis with our pediatrician's nurses, and the pharmacistS (I capatalized that on purpose to emphasize its plurality) at Target all know us! Oh and let me not forget BOTH chapalans know us by name! When we got there to check in this time, the nurse jokingly said, "We don't have your usual room ready for you." This is sad! Oh then there were the three trips to the hospital that I made to have the little astmatics! So that's 10 times in 3 years and 9 months! But the thing is, my kids are healthy! They're not frail little failure to thrive children (thank God! who always takes care of us and gets us home swiftly!)...they're healthy children who just have trouble breathing every now and again (except Ainslee who only takes credit for one of those hospitalizations for a UTI).

Okay so I think I have some wisdom to impart based on these many hospitalizations. Tips, if you will, for if you ever find yourself needing to hospitalize your children.
First, believe it or not, 4 days with a 3 year old is about 100 times easier than 1 night with a 1 year old! Count your blessings if your child is old enough to sit in bed, watch TV, or color!

Secondly, take cash! The vending machines will be your friends.

Third, bring your own diapers, wipes, tylenol, orajel, formula, etc...It's pricey at the hospital if they're having to serve as your toiletry supplier.

Next, you may also want to bring your own toilet paper, especially if you will be there more than a night or two. Hospitals typically buy Pom brand, which is about the equivalent of notebook paper.

Next, moms: you will start a stress-induced period so come prepared for that too!

Oh and an absolute MUST!...Bring flip-flops or Crocs so that you can slip them off while you sit but easily slip them back on to help your toddler to the potty or stand up and bounce your baby.

Don't plan on getting any sleep. The night nurses come in more often and are typically louder than the day nurses. When they come on board at 7:00 their peppiness is refreshing, but by about midnight when you're still trying to rock your baby to sleep, and they come in talking to her, getting her more awake, it begins to get on your nerves!

When you get the all-clear that you're being discharged, plan to stay at least another hour to two hours to get your discharge papers all together and signed. I don't think that's anybody's fault. I think it just takes a while to process. We didn't know that when we went to have Layton so we sat, ready to leave, with a hungry newborn, for about an hour and a half.

Don't use this as an excuse to eat out for every meal! We did that the first few trips, and it gets VERY expensive. The hospital will provide (charge you for) a guest meal to accompany the patient meal so take advantage. They also have alternative choices besides what's offered on the menu so inquire about those. They'll send you just about whatever request your write down!

Always be nice to the cleaning lady, respiratory therapists, and of course the nurses. They're the ones taking care of you all day and night! The doctor only makes rounds at about 9:00 in the morning. And if you're ready to ahem go home a day early, it will be the nurse begging on your behalf. If your child (or worse someone else's child) throws up or wets the bed, it will be the cleaning staff helping make sure all the germs are wiped away. And if your child can't breathe, it will be the respiratory therapist who will bring in those wonderful Rx drugs! I should also add to be kind to the transport tech, X-ray tech, and account manager for various reasons...in addition to the fact that it's just Christian-like to treat everyone with respect and kindness!

OK that wraps it up for now...I'm tired and going to bed...If I think of more useful information I'll type an addendum. Hopefully you'll never need this information, but just in case...

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