Friday, 21 August 2015

Ward This Way

If you suffer from a chronic illness, it’s an unfortunate truth that you will most likely be required to spend quite a bit of time in hospital. Perhaps mostly at the time of diagnosis; IBD in particular can be very difficult to diagnose and you may find yourself an in-patient of Ward LETMEOUTOFHERE for much longer than you’d like.

So how best to cope?

As a public service I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a little list of hints and tips to help you deal with with your stay in the world’s grimmest hotel. (Please feel free to add any of your own in the comments!)

1.       Speak up – Don’t play the martyr and suffer in silence. It’s stupid and really helps no one. You may think you are being kind, and the perfect patient by not giving the nurses anything to worry about, but really you are just setting your own recovery back and making it more difficult for them to help you. Diagnosis and treatment are a two way thing – you have to play ball when it comes to doctors’ recommendations. OK, if you are totally terrified, or vehemently disagree with what they suggest then tell them! Or ask for a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to rock the boat; the ultimate aim is getting to the shore safely and with as little disruption to your life as possible. Something about getting coconuts when you get there too look I don’t know.
2.       Prepare and prepare again – You might not assume you’ll have to stay in hospital again anytime soon, but your body (and your doctors) may have other ideas. Although it’s not a nice thought to have in the back of your mind its much nicer when the time comes to know you don’t have to panic about what you will need – or worse fire orders at someone else to pack for you. I previously compiled a list of my top items for my hospital case you can peruse here at your leisure if you so wish : )

3.      Do as you’re told – Yes you are in hospital to get well, but you are also a guest in the Bates Motel of Misery and as you are there to be looked after you must try and tolerate what is asked of you. Yes, it’s annoying when someone tries to fire dry toast down your gullet at 6.00am after a sleepless night listening to the woman in the bed opposite you screaming blue murder at all hours, and yes it’s even more annoying being shoved in a shower bleary-eyed and attached to a drip, and yes its annoying sharing a toilet with 4 other women with bowel conditions; but none of that is the fault of your nurses or doctors. It’s important you try to focus on what YOU need to do to get better. Listen and try to understand why you are there and what can be done to help. Don’t cock-block the doctor from attempting to medicate you at every turn; you never know they just might actually know what they are doing.

4.       Don’t turn away visitors because you feel embarrassed/a burden – Don’t get me wrong I’ve spent many a day in hospital when the thought of having to smile and chat to friends and family fills me with nothing but dread. But hospital can be a very lonely place, and seeing a familiar and loving face can help massively to brighten up the day. It also gives you something to look forward to and a sense of routine in what can become a calendar wasteland.

5.       Don’t feel you have to be a performing monkey – On the same topic its important you are authentic and true to yourself when loved ones arrive. Yes, its natural you don’t want to cause unnecessary worry, but here’s a newsflash for you: you are in hospital – they are already worried. Keeping how you truly feel from people who care for you is detrimental t your own mental health and is putting up a barrier stopping them from possibly helping to lighten your emotional load.

6.       Biscuits – There are always biscuits. 

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