When Master Frugal had a bit of an extended stay in hospital recently, there were a couple of things we did that made a difficult time that little bit easier. I thought I’d share them with you today as there were some things that we didn’t really realise until the last couple of days and I really wish we’d known then sooner.
I’m really sorry to keep wheeling out this photo but it’s the only one I took of him when he was in the hospital and that was only taken because he wanted to update his friends on why he was off and what had happened. Obviously, the way to do that these days is on Instagram or Snapchat which meant a photo!
Master Frugal was pretty much tied to his bed for most of his stay although we were able to pop him in a wheelchair and take him for a wander around the hospital as long as we stayed close to the ward and he did manage a couple of walks around the ward itself but most of the time he was laid up in his bed.
Just being there is absolutely enough
The first thing we learnt sounds like a bit of an obvious one but we had to learn quickly to understand that he was in pain as well as being scared and bored. This mix of feelings led to him being very down and quite grumpy which really isn’t like him. As a parent, it’s my natural response to try and cheer him up but this just made things worse and made him annoyed with me on top of everything else.
I had to learn quickly that I couldn’t control his feelings and just being there was enough for him. He didn’t want to talk to me or to do anything with me but he did want to know that I was there so after trying everything I could to cheer him up in the first few days, I just sat in the chair with him in silence quite often as I read my Kindle and he watched TV or played on his iPad. Every now and again, he reached out to me and just held my hand for a minute before going back to doing what he was doing and that was enough.
Take your own wifi
In the ward we were on, phones were allowed but there was obviously no wifi to connect to which meant that Master Frugal was unable to use his iPad to connect to Netflix and YouTube or play some of his games. It was only on day two that I realised that I could hotspot his iPad using my iPhone so I could share my data allowance with him which would allow him to use my phone to access wifi on his iPad.
Take your home comforts
We took along Master Frugal’s pillow and blanket from his bed along with his fan (which he had to get permission to take in) to make him more comfortable. I also took in a pillow for myself so I could get comfortable on the camp bed I got every night. You also might want to take in a sleep mask if you have one to cover your eyes as it never really gets dark in a children’s hospital ward.
Hospital food isn’t compulsory
Master Frugal has always been a fussy eater and even though he’s much better these days, he still turned his nose up every single day at what was on offer. In all honesty, the meals were pretty hit and miss with some meals looking nice but some just literally looked like a pile of mush but either way, the hospital isn’t the place to try and get your fussy eater to eat food that he doesn’t want to eat.
I checked in with the nurse that I was OK to just bring in food for him and she was perfectly fine with that so after the first day and a half when he didn’t eat, we brought him food from home or bought it from one of the places to eat in the restaurant. We weren’t overly bothered about nutritional value or getting him to eat healthy food as he was in quite a bit of pain and wasn’t all that hungry so if he fancied something, we were happy.
Don’t be afraid to offend people who want to visit
We had lots of people who wanted to come and visit Master Frugal which is only natural but unfortunately, there was no persuading him to let them visit. I think it was a mix of him not liking the attention combined with the pain with a little bit of grumpiness thrown in but whatever it was, he asked that I didn’t let anyone visit him until he was home and I have to respect that. I must admit though, I was a bit worried at first when I had to say no to some close family and friends but I shouldn’t have worried at all because they completely understood.
If your child is old enough then ask them what they want and be absolutely honest with your friends and family.
Check if the TV is Free
We had a grumble about the cost of the TV in hospital on the second day and one of the nurses pointed out that it was actually free on the ward we were on. We hadn’t been told as we’d been rushed in and he was taken down to the theatre so quickly rather than admitted via the usual channels but once we found out that it was, it was a total game-changer. It made all the difference when he was laid up in bed unable to do very much at all.
If ever you’re in the position of setting up camp next to your child’s hospital bed then I hope everything turns out as well as it did for us in the end.
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