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Hospital Visitors Guide

Recently I spent more time than I would like at the hospital, 3 weeks to be exact.
So I thought I would share with you what I have learned and how you can survive being a visitor.

My mom was recently in the hospital for heart surgery.  In our family we never leave someone in the hospital alone. We spent many nights with her; rotating Aunt’s, Cousins, and myself so we could all rest at home as well.  I spent several nights with her back to back, one of which was during our big snow storm.  I knew I would likely get snowed in so I packed the following to survive as a visitor.
Packing list (shop all below)
– Laptop and Charger
– Kindle and Charger
– Cell Phone and Charger
– Warm throw (the hospital can get chilly)
– Slippers (so I don’t have to wear my shoes ALL the time)
– Comfortable clothing
– Basic makeup so I feel human and keep my skin healthy
– Warm and Soft Cardigan which doubled as a bathrobe
– Durable cooler with snacks and sandwiches
– Extra Zip Lock bags to hold Ice for the cooler

Tips on Survival
Have options to keep yourself entertained.  Yes, there is a TV but it’s hard to see what is coming on and that can get boring by day 2!  I loaded my Kindle Fire with books to read and downloaded game apps.  On my laptop I was able to stream Netflix, been watching Longmire! 
Have variety on foods to eat!  I packed the cooler above with mini baby bell cheese, hummus and pretzel pack, drinks, sandwiches, hard boiled egg and chocolate turtles.  In my bag I had bottled water, muffins, and a bag of chex mix.  This lasted me three meals.  By day 2 I had to duck out to the cafeteria (so expensive BTW) to get dinner and something additional for breakfast the next day.  By using the hard plastic cooler I was able to fill zip lock bags with ice from the machine on the floor to keep my items cold.  It worked perfectly!
Be overly nice to the staff!  You get more bees with honey.  I worked on getting to know them personally for two reasons – 1. They were taking care of my mom, 2. When I needed something they were happy to help me.  Simple things like Ketsup packets, cups of juice for my mom, extra pillow or towel.  I was able to shower in her room and needed clean towels and wash clothes to do so.  I can say the nursing staff at Duke on 7 East were some of the nicest people.  We had many of the same staff during our long stay.  One nurse was scheduled to a different room but stopped in to say Morning and see how we were doing.  It was so thoughtful!
Make time for yourself.  I told my mom I was tired and really need some sleep so she made sure everyone was quiet that came in to check on her.
All in all it was like home away from home.  The fact I got to spend so much time with my mom meant the world to me.


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