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The Visitor's Chair

Posted Nov 20 2010 12:00am
So tonight I had my first adventure in a long time visiting a friend in the joint. She had a hard day upon which I will not elaborate because its not my business, but I was glad that she was in very good hands at the hospital with my same doctor and a nurse I really liked. Also, she looked so damn cute in a pink t-shirt and jammy pants :) Of course, I could not resist giving her the new Cystic Gal shirt, and hope she will give me some feedback. She seemed to be doing okie dokie by the time I arrived, but still, this trip reminded me of a blog I wanted to write a long time ago on tips for visiting someone in the hospital.

So, I will do that below.

Also, I was suddenly aware of how much worry there can be when sitting in the visitor's chair, and how the person in the hospital bed can see that worry, and if its unnecessary, or even if it is totally founded
(who can ever know, right?), the patient feels compelled a lot of the time to play the "no really, I'm okay" game until the worry on the visitor's face goes away. I don't think this is really what my friend was doing, but being in the visitor's chair, I heard all the same things my sister says coming out of my mouth, and all of the the things my mom would do, happening from me, and all of the jokes that T-Money would tell being told. So . . . it got me thinking. What is really the best way to behave as a visitor? Who's to say? We all do the best we can, in the hospital bed or in the waiting room, or in the pre-op or the post-op.

These are the --

At least, this is how we do it in the CG family

1. Bring snacks that the person likes, and if you don't know what they like, just bring snacks. UNLESS THEY MIGHT BE ON A FOOD RESTRICTION. One of the biggest annoyances for a CFer is that s/he is completely at the mercy of the hospital to decently feed her/him. -- and we're a HUNGRY people, made to eat mostly low-sodium low-fat food when we need high calorie high sodium!!!

2. Bring them a book to read. Then, don't hound them about whether or not they read it. The hospital is a busy place and sometimes a nap is better than a book. Other times, a book is a great distraction.

3. Don't stay long.  I always wanted non-family visitors to stay for about an hour, and family/inner-circle type of people to stay for maybe 2.

4. Don't complain about anything related to the hospital i.e. parking, crowdedness, gross sightings. This can be just negative energy and make the patient feel bad that you came.

5. Don't show up earlier or later than discussed. Believe it or not, we have a tight schedule in the hospital and have most likely finagled something around your visit such as PT, neb treatments, or exercise.

6. Don't bring extra people. If your friend asked to see you, or you them, don't bring your kids, your husband, your friend from brunch.

7. DO NOT COME IF YOU ARE SICK, or if you've been sick in the past three days, or know you have been exposed to something.

8. Consider wearing a mask into the room (a must for post-txers). Let the  patient offer if its okay to take it off. It's much harder for a patient to send you back in the hall than to tell you take a mask off.

9. Don't bring any substantial food without asking (soup, coffee, pizza, etc.) Your patient may be on a food restriction.

10. Show up, but not unexpectedly. If a patient can't be spoken to directly, ask a family member directly, "do you think he'd like a visit from me, or should I hold off?" Hopefully, you will get a direct answer. If you get a positive response, then you must must must show up. Now the patient is expecting you, as is the family.

11. In more serious situations, consider doing things to support the loved ones of the patient. Bring a cup of coffee to a mom, bring a sweatshirt or a change of clothes for a person who has stayed over night, etc.

OK that's 11 things. I have to sleep!!
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