We often worry about what to take for ourselves in a hospital bag for surgery but what should or could we do for those we love that maybe going in for surgery or frequent hospital stays? Last month two of my fellow co hosts of The IBD and Ostomy Support Show have gone in for surgery and even though it is not their first surgery or admission by a long shot it got me thinking what are things YOU can do for someone else?
For starters don’t take in grapes! Skins or peel tends not to be so good as you may know for ostomates (except urostomates you lucky devils) but you can get your friend to look into a sort of patient/visitor social media circle if you like called No More Grapes which you can add your friends and family to update them all rather than individual messages or posting publicly on your existing social media. From this non profit website you can create a wish list for any items you fancy or if you are running low on items, create a calendar so that people know when important appointments are happening or so you never go without a visitor one day and have an influx the next.
Next we have the Inga Wellbeing gowns; remember when you had your surgery and you had a catheter bag, drains, cannulas and your ostomy plus other things depending on your individual circumstances. Did you feel like the gowns were too clinical or make you feel less of a person? Were your pj’s just too inconvenient to wear? Well this is where the buck stops – now you can get some beautiful and practical hospital wear that allows for comfort but easy access to your appliances etc. Rachel from Rocking2Stomas wrote a great review on these items.
Not talking about hospital life but literally anything that is happening outside is amazing, people seriously underestimate how fascinating the mundane things become if you are confined to a hospital bay. I was always lucky as I would literally bugger off the second I was safe to do so which meant boredom took a bit longer to settle in; however my hospital is fairly small in comparison to some and I know most of the staff – either from when I worked there ago, being a patient or the simple fact my parents worked there; so there was no real worry about my whereabouts.
Bringing in books, magazines or puzzle books can be a great distraction or help to pass the time when sleep has decided to evade you which it always seems to do at least once. I always take a puzzle book and whatever I’m reading in when I’m in hospital and when my partner in crime is in (sometimes we are inpatients together) I take along magazines to her just to giver her something to do.
Finding out information about the surgery or procedure they are having and trying to offer more specialised support than “it will be okay”, “just give yourself time” is often appreciated just as long as you don’t go over the top!
What things do you think would be useful to add to this list? Either from your own surgical experience or if you have friends who are often patients?