9/4/2012 2:19 PM
By Jon Ritchings, Jr.
Note: read Part 1 of Jon’s post by clicking here.
The second thing that helps me at the hospital is to find things to do. Anything that takes your mind off the monotony of sitting in a hospital bed staring at the ceiling is going to help you get out of the hospital sooner. I'm not talking about watching TV, either. Most hospitals provide a personal TV with a few crappy cable networks but really, it's like a token way for them to occupy your time.
- The first thing I do is find something prior to surgery that looks interesting to me. You may not be able to garden, build a backyard shed or groom your dog properly while in the hospital, but most provide Wi-Fi and you can certainly bring your laptop and read about or teach yourself how to do those thing while you are there.
- Find something you enjoying doing that you will be able to do while in the hospital. If you like to knit, bring some yarn and needles to make scarves for the kids. If you do scrapbooking, bring some supplies. The nurses will be more than happy to get you comfortable with a small table and a comfy chair so you can spend time doing those things. After all, if you’re working on a project they are free to help out more troubled patients and I guarantee when you do need them they will be there faster and ready to do more for you. I have started playing the ukulele and brought that, along with my laptop, to teach myself some new songs. I found that my neighbors and the nurses love listening to me play and if you get a request and play it for them, the next day you’re like a king.
- Stay in contact with the outside world. People lead busy lives and are often uncomfortable seeing friends in the hospital, so for many, they don't get a lot of visitors. That doesn't mean you can't chat with them, especially if you have your laptop with you. You can get the news, send emails, live chat or keep up with social networks if you’re like me. I've found that many of the people I know who are not able to get here to visit me personally are concerned with how I am holding up. By shooting them a quick message (I try to keep it light) telling them how you are, what they've done or what the next step is, that you get back a lot of love and support. It's not the same as a hug and a “feel better,” but it is still good to know they care and that leads back to attitude.
The only other thing I can add to this is that if you’re in an older hospital where they double people up with a roomie, do your best to get the window bed. I enjoy sitting by the window and it's not for the view. I find I generally feel better when I can sit in the sun for about 20 minutes. Remember if you’re the new guy to the room you may not get it right away, but if your attitude is good and you've endeared yourself to the staff, when the bed vacates, I find they are more likely to swap you over.
I hope this helps everyone who has to have an extended or even a short stay in the hospital. As for me, I am smiling while typing this and thinking about what a great day yesterday was with all the nurses coming down to sing “Happy Birthday” to me and bring me a cake. We had a nice little party for my 41st birthday.
Jon Ritchings, Jr., is a 40-year-old father who was born with pulmonary atresia and hypoplastic right heart syndrome. Although he has made a career in retail, he prefers to be outdoors kayaking and taking photos. Jon likes to draw inspiration from quotes and one of his current favorites is from Lao Tzu: “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”
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