Last updated: May 2022
Hello there! For my first article, I thought I'd start with something I have a lot of experience with: getting hospitalized. Below I will share with you some of my favorite tips, tricks, and packing advice to (hopefully) help make your hospital stay a little more comfortable.
Bring an extra-long charging cord
Does this sound familiar? You're laying in a hospital bed playing some phone games, when that dreaded red battery icon pops up, telling you that your seemingly never-ending fun is about to, well, end. You start looking for the nearest outlet, but the closest one you can find is too far away for your phone charger to reach the bed!
That's where the extra-long, 10-foot charging cord comes in. This baby will reach pretty much anywhere you need it to (within the confines of your hospital room).
Pack a throw blanket from home
I don't know about you, but I get homesick when I'm in the hospital. Suddenly, the boring and mundane tasks of home life never felt so welcome. I especially get sappy over my dog, Harley. Whenever I'm packing for a possible hospital stay, I always pack a throw blanket (usually the one with a dog on it). Not only does the blanket serve as a token of home, but it's also great for walking around the drafty hospital hallways (if you're so inclined to such activities).
Wear cozy socks with grips
Get tired of the scratchy hospital socks that they insist that you wear around? Bring your own! I think this is by far one of my favorite hacks I've found. Some hospitals and nurses require patients to wear socks with grips to prevent falling, so regular socks may not be enough. You can get socks with fluffy insides and grips on the outside. There are a ton of fun patterns and designs, too.
Bring any unusual medications with you
As a CF patient, I take A LOT of different medications. Some of which aren't carried in your typical, hospital pharmacy. When this happens, I'm often asked if these medications can be brought in from home. Unfortunately, as I live in a small rural town, my home is over an hour away from the nearest hospital that has the capacity to care for someone with my condition.
After running into this complication a few times, I started to figure out which medications weren't kept on hand (or that the hospital had trouble dosing properly, i.e. my enzymes) and brought them in myself. I made sure to bring in unopened containers of my medication which had the prescription label on it, so that to the hospital there was no question of tampering or who the medication was prescribed to.
Eventually, I got to the point where I was bringing in pretty much all of my CF-specific medications (pulmozyme, trikafta, zenpep, etc.). I also found that these were the medications that my non-CF nurses were unfamiliar with, which I started to use as a gauge. Now, if I'm prescribed something new and find that some nurses aren't familiar with it, I take it as a sign that I might need to bring it in for my next hospital stay.
I request double protein portions
If you have CFRD (cystic fibrosis-related diabetes), it can be hard to figure out the right balance to manage carbs, but also keep up on calories. At only 5 ft tall and about 100 lbs, my dietitian recommends that I eat around 3,000 calories per day! In a hospital, they have to take into account many different patients and dietary restrictions, so they often have blanket policies regarding certain conditions that restrict patients' diets. I used to struggle with the nurses and food staff in the hospital because they often didn't understand a lot about CF and the dietary requirements that entailed; they were more focused on managing my diabetes and limiting my carbs.
On one magical day, however, one doctor uttered the words that would change my hospital dining experience forever: "I'll approve you for double protein portions."
In my head, I was thinking, "you can do that???"
Essentially, that means that they give you 2 portions of whatever the meat course is in your entrée (e.g. 2 chicken breasts, 2 pork chops, etc.) I found that it's a great way to add calories to a meal without adding carbs. Ever since then, that is one of the first things I mention to the hospital admitting staff when the topic of food and my diet comes around.
I hope someone will find these tips helpful the next time they have a lengthy hospital stay.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for staying in the hospital? Share in the comments below!
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