No, thank G-d, not even anything remotely related to trucks entered my sphere today. But on returning home after visiting Ricki in the morning, and doing a few health checks for myself, I forwent doing some needed housework, and simply sank into bed for a half hour. I mumbled to my husband on the way “I still feel like I’ve been run over by a truck…”
Albeit this was an EXTREEME exaggeration, but just the previous evening I remembered a friend who used to always say “I feel like death warmed over…”. I was able to relate. So Last night (Wednesday), I made a point to get in a decent amount (at least for me) of shut-eye. So why was I STILL feeling exhausted?
Let’s face it. Having a child in the hospital, especially ICU, is stressful. Even though in my mind I understand that Ricki will (G-d willing) be OK., the tiny nagging voice of fear reminds me that there are no guarantees. In addition, my schedule is a whirlwind not of my own design, and I am encumbered by the necessity of navigating around visiting hours, bus time-tables, etc.
Add to this the realization that one is undoubtedly being evaluated by hospital personnel, people I am dependant on at this moment for Ricki’s well-being. All of these ingredients add up to a pretty spicy soup!
So here are a few tips for those who may someday find themselves in the hospital with a loved one:
1) Eat healthy. Take the time to go to the hospital grocery (or a store nearby) and buy some vegetables and fruit. DON’T subsist on coffee and pastries.
2) Get up when your family member is sleeping and walk around a bit in the hall. Stretch your legs. (An MP3 with music enhances this….)
3) Get some easy listening music onto an MP3 player to listen to when you want to relax.
4) Sometimes skip #2 and nap instead….
5) Listen to the news report to remind yourself that the outside world still exists….
6) Remember to frequently say “Thank you” to the staff.
7) And if they handled your relative when he/she was in a “cranky mood”, and did it well, let them know how much you admire the way they handled the situation….
8) Preface requests with “When you are able…” “When you have a few moments, could…” This implies your understanding that your relative is not their only patient, and important priorities might preclude them helping you this second.
9) Remind them of requests if needed, but calmly.