As some of you know, since my first day blogging from the hospital I’ve had a thing about ‘hospital kit’ lists.
Tag Archive for hospital
In the first few days of this blog, I wrote a hospital kit list, and said I’d update it sometime with my definitive list, and never did.
Last night my friend’s 2 year-old daughter was taken to Hospital Number 3 with pneumonia. She’s MUCH better today, following large doses of IV antibiotics. One can’t do much to help in these situations. Except, it turns out that I did know there was one thing I could do. A bag full of essential kit for her mum, informed by relatively recent inmate experience. So here it is, finally, my ultimate ‘get them this’ list for people in hospital (or staying with their kids in hospital).
Something felt different today. Like something in my head had clicked back into place or something. I don’t really know how to describe it but it’s a good thing. I feel a little more like me again today.
Last night I was trying to explain to Iona that I’d spent the day trying to walk without my left side being given any special treatment. If you’ve been reading this a while you may remember that, while in hospital, the physio (POT) was explaining to his trainee that stroke rehabbers’ brains/bodies often think something is required when it’s not. One example, back then, was that I’d lock my left knee a lot – which is apparently so common he’d said I’d be doing it without having seen me do it – so I had to teach my brain and my leg it didn’t need to lock the knee. Anyway, I’ve been trying to teach my left side that it doesn’t need to feel heavier than my right side and therefore I can walk in an ordinary gait. I think it’s kind of working, though when I’m tired I forget, but it’s all getting a bit easier and, well, that’s what’s supposed to happen!
On a vaguely more serious note, one of the posts I half wrote but didn’t post was about little things I did to accommodate the initial ‘being home’ period. They are actually still in place but I suspect I’ll start weaning some of them out soon so I thought I’d share in case it’s useful for someone else….
- Charging cables for essentials (macbook, phone, firewire) are permanently plugged in and draped over the headboard of the bed so I can just pull and plug. I know you shouldn’t leave them plugged in – I’m one of those people who hates TVs on standby, etc. – but these are exceptional days.
- Have Innocent veg pots, Waitrose Pad Thai meals and grapes in the fridge. I don’t usually do microwave meals but these are really good and take no effort (esp if you don’t decant them!). Grapes might be a cliché but, being home all day surrounded by treats everyone’s been lovely enough to bring, is constant temptation. Grapes in the fridge or the freezer may be full of sugar, but are far lesser than many evils.
- Avoid rush hour. I forgot this once. It was a mistake. Lots of noise. Too much bustle. And people have no idea you’re not able to decide/shift as fast as they can; particularly the grey and pushchair-tethered. (Book. Cover. Works both ways people.)
- Set up alarms for everything, esp meds. Use the snooze button at will, but do not turn it off before you’ve done whatever it is. I know you think its impossible to have forgotten all about it within 30 seconds, but it’s not. Trust me. Just do it. And book planned visitors into a diary on your phone as soon as you know when they are coming. Check your diary before you leave the house. Every time. And beware iphone clock changes… enough said.
- Find a phrase you can use to tell people all that is not as it seems without feeling too vulnerable. You’ll be glad to have it ready when its taking time to get into your purse/wallet to pay, or you can’t figure out a ticket option, or choose something from a menu, or you want the only table in the restaurant with the high backed chairs. Or when the lady in John Lewis thinks its ok to have a long chat with a colleague when you are trying to stay standing without support. (Mine is, “Sorry, I had an accident last month, could we [whatever].”
- Answer back or simply walk away when you’re not treated properly. I’ve never been good at this. I’m good at teasing and banter, but not at actually telling people where to get off. Now isn’t the time to tolerate too much, nor try to see it from their point of view. (If you have this habit, I know it’s very hard to break and I don’t claim to have entirely done it, but I’m working on it!) “Do as you would be done by,” also works both ways. If I wasn’t being kind to you, or was being an outright cow, I’d expect you to – at the very least – walk away from me, so…
- It’s ok to break your own rules. I have great rules: no microwave meals; no shopping in primark (or sending someone for you for the uber-brilliant hospital bounty, in my case); don’t leave lights on; shop around for prices/products; don’t give anyone a password for anything; be self-sufficient. All out the window. Don’t judge me too harshly, please. I’m not. It’s just for now, because I need a bit of a break.
I think that’s it. I’ve got other half written things…. like how important an iphone, a laptop with a 3G stick, email and facebook can be to your mental health when in hospital and recovering at home, while everyone else is at work. (I might not finish that one now, as that just about sums it up). But there’s other stuff and I’ll get to it.
My next INR check is at 9am tomorrow morning. Judging by the bruises all over my belly from the clexane jabs, I’m thinking its probably going to be well within range this time. Finally. But I always say that, I suppose, so we shall see.
(Yep, you even get a pic – look away if you’re squeamish and definitely don’t read on. But what i like about these ones is you can see the puncture site in the middle of the bruise! It’s kind of cool. (And I swear these don’t hurt… you just have to play ‘find a spot between bruises’ each morning). Yep, it’s probably the only time i’ll flash my belly and it;s not even pretty. And this was before it got bad..!)
Newsflash: So, the hospital forgot to call me back today, (“oh sorry, its because its Sunday”) but my INR REACHED 2, which is in my range (2-3).
This means I don’t have to go to hospital tomorrow for jabs and bloods. I am officially a free agent until Tuesday morning when they want my blood again.
And if its still ok then there will be no more jabs, and i can ditch those i currently carry around in pre-filled syringes, and I won’t have to go back again until my first hematology clinic on Thursday afternoon! I’m on a higher dose of warfarin than they’d like (um, double, actually), but apparently everyone is different so its still ok. (And I type I recall that the bag of fruit and nuts I finished up yesterday probably contained utterly banned cranberries, but ho hum, maybe they helped…?!)
This is particularly good news as my veins have pretty much given up on having blood removed from them. I think they shrink in protest every time they see something coming for them. There are now rules in place to maximise potential: nurses not doctors, butterflies not big needles, left arm not right, and so on. But it still took two goes today, and the nurse who did the first one refused to do the second go and brought the supervisor round instead. The ugly bruises now scare the newbies that they are going to hurt me. All this was getting dull and, seeing as I can’t blame said veins for wanting to recover from being stuck every 4 hours for 10 days, I hope the drugs continue to do their thing and we can stop doing this quite so often. There was a funny moment though: the charge nurse came round to see what was going on and said, looking at my bruises, “oh, needles aren’t supposed to bruise you”. I believe my response was, “right, that’s good to know”. Seriously….??!! I don’t think he got why I was smiling.
I’m also loving that as soon as I blog an issue I seem to find a way around it. Either that or your praying is still uber efficient. I was feeling a tad trapped this morning, as you may have been able to tell. When I left the hospital today though, I noticed that the bus across the street goes all the way to Peter Jones. This is amusing for those in the know because I have always not-so-quietly wondered if those who treat Peter Jones like Mecca are slightly odd. I take it all back… for today anyway. I ducked my usual cab and got on the bus (hehe, I know, stop freaking, it was 5 minutes in a straight line; it was fine!). First stop was JL’s brasserie for some toast (white bread, lots of cold butter, oh my goodness I’d never dream of eating rubbish like that that any other time but it was good!!!). Then to haberdashery for ribbon. (Yeah, I’d like to tell you I’m joking but I lived with Perry-May for 3 years: ribbon is like an essential food group in our house.). Then home. By tube. Which took about 10 minutes ,which was far quicker than a black cab, even if I had forgotten quite how many stairs there are in a tube station. I was liberated. By Peter Jones. No, seriously, I didn’t see that one coming two weeks ago either!
I got two brilliant presents today, and the visuals are so good I just had to post. The flowers look like porcelain and the sweets just made me laugh out loud!
I also got a lovely email today from a stateside friend who reminded me of a horrible, horrible, horrible accident that his daughter had which took some time to recover from. He reminded me tiredness was an ongoing problem for sometime and encouraged the wheelchair. It’s not really what I want to hear as I’m hoping its not an issue for me: as each day things get better. But its so completely useful to be reminded, in that gentle HB way, that something that were not normal a couple of weeks ago might become normal for a while. I’m hearing you, and I’m bearing it all in mind.
I need to do a bit on kit required in here. I have it all but I’ve been wondering what people without fab friends and a dad who knows how to work Primark do. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Anyway, if you reading because you’re not my friend but you know someone doing this, then know that I detest Primark but I’m breaking all my own rules this week and suggest you go there too. You will be able to buy all the following and have change from £30:
- 4 pairs of loose PJ bottoms,
- 6-8 tshirts, slippers (£1.30 – see pic – seriously cannot be ethical!!!)
- 8 undies, and bras as soon as you can manage (if you’re female, obviously), cos you have visitors to see!!!
- While you’re there pick up their face wipes (surprisingly good)
- Hair ties. Lots of hair ties.
Toiletries can come from superdrug and hospital will have loads of towels, you just have to ask. (And, dear God, what do people do when their step-mum doesn’t constantly ask for washing??)
And keep the all the plastic bags you can to hang in convenient places for bins so you don’t have to toddle round the room for them!