Wednesday, May 20, 2009

HOW TO: Survive your next hospital stay

For those that were not already aware. I was fortunate enough to spend this past week in the uber-posh-Cleveland Clinic in Weston having arthroscopic surgery on my appendix; needless to state the obvious: surgery was a success.

Not to take anything away from the grandiose surgeons and wonderful hospital staff for not only operating and treating my illness, but also ensuring that I was able to leave with both my good health and sense of humor intact. Personally I only noticed one small detail that the hospital folks may have inadvertantly ignored... how incredibly boring actually staying in a hospital can be. So here I find myself writing a brief "How to survive your next hospital stay". This is a service to all those who suddenly find themselves hospitalized for one reason or another, and are contemplating ODing on morphine to avoid having nothing-to-do. There are several keys to avoid the pitfalls of having nothing to do, like boredom.

1. Spread out things that you have to do. If your surgeon has instructed you to do breathing exercises for your lungs(blow into a plastic tube), walk incessantly(50 steps), sleep atleast 8 hours(easy task with pain meds), and "keep a log of your logs"(count your flushes), DONT do it all in one day (which you easily could do). Instead spread it out over the whole week. When you tell people what you have to do, embellish how important these things are and how long they will take. You will seem significantly less lazy, and you might even convince yourself that you accomplished something.

2. Don't sleep in too late, but don't get up too early, either. If you are getting up everyday and get to choose whether you eat lunch or breakfast, that's a little too late. I recommend getting up around 10 or so. Then you can eat breakfast, watch some crappy TV and go do your daily 50 steps by noon. This way you haven't wasted the day, but you still get a solid amount of sleep.

3. If you run across any male nurses, mock them incessantly. Then ask them to help you "go to the bathroom", because you are likely drenched in your own urine. Unless, of course, you have only have cute friendly female nurses, in which case if please contact me immediately.

4. This one is important because if followed to the Tee your boredom level will have been instantly cut by half. VISITORS; they are a key part in keeping you entertained while hospitalized. The most valuable piece is balancing them out during your stay. Specifically giving them alloted time slots, and managing your visitor time effectively. For example...only invite a boring co-worker over if the following apply: a)something "good" is scheduled to come on TV b)you will be receiving a heavy dosage of meds within the next 10 minute window c)they are coming over near the end of visiting hours. If these are not following, you will be forced to sit there for hours on end doing the How are you Feeling-20-questions.

5. Finally, when your hospital vacation is over, do make up wild stories of the adventures you had. Possibilities include meeting: Dougie Howser, Saving a nurse's life by doing the heimlich maneuver on her during her lunch break, breaking up a multi-clinic drug cartel, and making medical history by pooping out a 7 year old piece of gum enclosed in a time capsule.

Use this simple advice to make the most of your hospital stay.

1 comment:

Stephy G. (and Bax) said...

I spent three weeks in a hospital once - and go figure, I drove the nurses nuts. Apparently, they'll do whatever you tell them to if you have a massive and potentially deadly blood infection and threaten to leave every time they tried to say "no". They ended up having the maintenance guy hook up a Super Nintendo AND a Sega to my TV, I had about 10 people over everyday and pizza delivered every night. And escorted smoke breaks. And drunken 2 am visitors. And my own room.

Seriously, very relaxing vacation.