Life from a hospital room

Tam and I had the… well…crisis of having our little boy Seth in a hospital isolation room for 4 days last week. He started getting sick on Sunday and after 2 visits to the doctor and one to the emergency room (where the doctor who checked him out said “I don’t know what’s wrong so take him home and hope for the best”.  Yip – that’s what private health care gets you sometimes), he was admitted, put onto a drip, locked up into an isolation ward and the process of discovering what was wrong (A virus they hadn’t seen before and an ear infection resulting in him being admitted again tomorrow (Friday) for Grommets) began.  Being there for a few days taught me a few things about life I thought I should share.

1. Having a child in hospital is nothing like being there yourself

We understand things. They don’t.  One of the most frustrating things is trying to communicate why his food tastes like cardboard and why he can’t have the sweets on the shelf or the fruit juice in the bottle.  On a plus side, when we get medicated with pain meds, we still tend to feel sorry for ourselves because we know the pain will return shortly.  Seth didn’t realise this. So he went from screaming in pain, to playing happily on his drip-mobile with in a period of 5 minutes, only to be repeated again in 6 hours when the drip was finished and the pain returned with a vengeance.

2. Night staff are significantly nicer than day staff

This wasn’t a first time revelation, but one worth repeating. I don’t know what it is… maybe the bright lights, maybe the pressure of having doctors around, but my broad opinion is that day staff are there to do a job, night staff are there to care for patients, to smile, and to help where they can.

3.  A Doctor is either nice, or good. Rarely both

Notice I said “rarely” not “never”.  We have had some amazing experiences with good doctors who take time to introduce themselves, smile and be nice. But, we have had equal experience with doctors who walk into the room, do their job, and walk out without so much as a ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’

4.  A hospital visit shows you who really cares

We were blown away by the love and support we received from so many people.  Even as I type this, we are awaiting a meal to be delivered to us.  Our church family realised that the struggle doesn’t end when you leave hospital, but that the “catch up” week is as traumatic and disruptive, and have continued to bring meals, send messages of love and support, come to pray with us. It’s been unreal!  It caused me to stop and wonder what people who are not connected to a church do in a moment of crisis? There is no way anyone’s family is a big as the family that cared for us during this time. To everyone – thank you

5. A hospital visit shows you who doesn’t really care

I wish this wasn’t the case, but it’s true. There are people in one’s life who surprise you by being completely absent when you hit a crisis.  We don’t expect everyone to drop things and come running – don’t get me wrong. We understand that life happens to everyone, and everyone has their share of trauma to deal with on a daily bases. But when not so much as a whatsapp, text or Facebook message of support is shared in a horrendous week by people who would probably classify themselves as good friends arrives in an inbox, you get to know where to invest time and energy.

6.  A hospital visit shows you the importance of a backup plan

Few people are able to just step out of life in a crisis without a ripple effect.  In my case, Seth’s hospital visit happened to co-incide with O-week at University (in which Eastside and Red Frogs are very involved); a meeting with the SRC;  our first evening service of the year; my leading worship and Vision Service planning.  In Tam’s case, the hospital stay co-incides with her first week of teaching – welcoming new children; parents welcome evening; a new student to show around the school; prep work to do.  Basically – it was just really bad timing. Thankfully, we both have people in our lives who know enough about what we do and how we do it to step in and manage as much as possible.

7.  Junk Food!

I have to end on a silly note, because this is pretty serious for a Thursday evening – but junk food is so much cheaper and easier to come by than healthy food. Tam and I were both really keen to have a healthy month of salad and lean meat and fruit and water and other tasteless stuff.  But in a moment of crisis, chips, coke, lasagna, burgers and the like are really much easier – for us, and those who so generously catered for us.  So, here’s to February – our healthy month 🙂

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