Surviving Hospitalisation: Carry Your Necessities (6 of 7)

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Ameena Meer is a writer and single mother of three girls living in New York City, who runs her own advertising agency.  As a person who went through traditional cancer treatments for several months and was also hospitalized for other illnesses in the past, she thought it would be useful to create a guide to navigating the medical system when you’re stuck inside.  This is an excerpt from her blog www.amazonsofnyc.blogspot.com 

Your Necessities

ameena meer overcome choriocarcinomaAn eyemask is key. A nice silk one or an organic cotton one. They never turn the lights out in the hospital. I found I needed one with an elastic so it stayed on my head when I finally fell asleep and flipped over. If it’s pretty, even better. Sometimes it feels good to have something really nice to look at.  It makes you feel glamorous. Lastly, I found that sometimes chemotherapy made me eyes burn and it felt really nice to have a cool eyemask against my skin.

A long sweater, dressing gown or sweatshirt with a zip or button front makes a huge difference because those stupid hospital gowns open in the back. I preferred a big cotton surfer’s sweatshirt because the bright blue color cheered me up and the cotton was supersoft and beat-up. It was the length of a coat so I could close it up and look less like an invalid (or so I thought) when I wandered the hallways. And since it was cotton, I could fall asleep with it on and not get uncomfortably hot in the night. What you have to remember is, whatever you’re wearing on your top when you get the IV put in is what you’ll be stuck in for the next two or three days until they take it out (because of the sleeves). So choose wisely. Dress for comfort as well as style.

Personally, I hated those blue-and-white printed hospital gowns that looked like they turned everyone into babies or sick people. I liked being able to cover mine up and be an individual. I somehow found it easier to muster up some dignity whilst speaking to the doctors on their rounds if I looked like a normal person. More on that later…

Comfortable slippers
Pack a comfortable pair of slippers for that homely touch

Slippers. Basically, you have to go from your bed to the bathroom repeatedly and you don’t want to do it in your socks and then put them back in your bed. Socks also feel really awful if you step in something slightly wet. I recommend simple slippers, like the kind you wear when you can walk your dog or go get the newspaper in the morning. I was lucky enough to have a pair of very brightly colored birkenstocks and I always got a fresh pedicure before I came in to the hospital, because it cheered me up to look at my feet. They were the only part of body that stayed recognizable through everything.

Wipes. I liked some natural lavender wet-wipes. They are good to wipe your hands before you eat or to wipe off your tray if you want to put your laptop on it. They leave a fresh scent behind. You can also touch them to your temples if things feel dire and the smell of lavender clears your head a bit.

All this stuff may seem absurdly expensive given your circumstances, but I suggest you invest in it anyway. It makes you feel chic and aristocratic and helps you continue to behave in a dignified fashion.

And in the end, it will be the way you treat the people who help you that will make all the difference.

Reflection

  • What are some of your little necessities to survive hospitalisation?
  • Can you list down some things that can make your hospital stay a little more comfortable?
  • Select three things that are “guaranteed” to lift your spirits.

More from this series

Title About the article
Part 1 As a person who went through traditional cancer treatments for several months and was also hospitalized for other illnesses in the past, Ameena Meer thought it would be useful to create a guide to navigating the medical system when you’re stuck inside.
Part 2 I am not a doctor, but I want to offer people the basic stuff I’ve learned through years of experience as a successful patient.
Part 3 Unless you are a wealthy, high-profile celebrity, you will not get special attention at a factory. Which is pretty much what a hospital is.
Part 4 The idea is to turn your big, scary hospital into a small, loving place. You want to make it a place where they will really look after you. You can even become a cheer-leader for everyone else along the way.
Part 5 It’s still a hideous proposition if you must stay in hospital, but there are ways you can make it more bearable, maybe even pleasant. Sometimes it’s as easy as a list of things that you might bring, or have friends or relatives bring, that makes it feel more at-home.
Part 6 All this stuff may seem absurdly expensive given your circumstances, but I suggest you invest in it anyway. It makes you feel chic and aristocratic and helps you continue to behave in a dignified fashion. And in the end, it will be the way you treat the people who help you that will make all the difference.
Part 7 This is one tip that may not practically affect the tone of your stay, but it will ease your mind and help you feel like you are part of the process

 

 

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