Wednesday, April 18, 2012

12 things to bring to the hospital for your young CHD patient.

When you're pregnant, you end up with multiple lists with what to pack for your stay at the hospital or birth center. All are pretty similar and just life itself, it gets easier when you prepare as best as you can. When we found out, almost 5 years ago, that Natalie would need a series of open heart surgeries we had no idea what to bring to the hospital. Totally different situation. We weren't prepped with what we would need at her bedside so we went through a bit of trial and error. At her 1st surgery I spent most nights at home with James and then all day by Natalie's side. We couldn't afford for Rick to take off of work (no personal or sick time) and that's super difficult for any family to deal with. But you make it- day to day. Week to week. The situation was almost identical when it was time for Natalie's 2nd open heart surgery. We are very blessed to say that to date, we've only spent 13 days in hospitals due to Natalie's heart condition. But during all of those 13 days these were the 12 items we couldn't live without when our child was 5 months and 2 years old:

1.) sippy cups, familiar and favorite cups (if you have a newborn or infant don't worry the hospital will give you baby bottles).

2.) Super comfy clothing. Think soft and clean shirts with buttons in the front so your child's "zipper" incision isn't irritated.

3.) Balloons. I haven't met a child yet that doesn't love those Mylar balloons.

4.) A good selection of your child's favorite DVDs. I accidentally brought Snow White. I forgot how scary it was and Natalie watched it the 1st night post-op. Think cheerful and comforting movies. I accidentally chose a dark and gloomy one.

5.) your child's favorite music. Now that we have iPods and portable speakers these days, this is, thankfully, very easy.

6.) Your child's favorite stuffed animals and/or blanket that you can wash once home to get that "hospital smell" out. Also, a favorite sheet set and pillow from home.

7.) lollipops! and any candy approved by your child's doctor.

8.) stickers stickers stickers! You find unlimited uses for stickers during the days when looking for ways to feel entertained.

9.) splurge on a really good lip balm for your child (like Burt's Bees).

10.) toys!! Thankfully most hospitals will help provide really great toys for your child while they recuperate. But any small toy that is easily transportable from home helps to continue that feeling of familiarity and home.

11.) Crayons and washable markers and plenty of paper. It's a great distraction for a wiggly 2 year old. Also save extra for you to journal the experience.

12.) Don't forget the small bills and change for snacks for when the cafeteria is closed.

Is there anything I left out? What is your list? Comment and/ or link back with your list (in the comments section)! : )


happyhubbub said...

Socks and/or slippers. Sometimes having a lot of leads and wires makes "home" clothes hard to do but having your own fuzzy slippers makes things comfy. Same goes for a robe.

I've brought small craft kits and bubbles for her when she was younger. Older she prefers cell phones and other electronics to veg out to.

For me? Before cell phones, calling cards were a must (how did we survive without cell phones!) as well as a phone list of family both near and far. Disposable toothbrushes and mints, dry shampoo and deodorant (body spray). A notebook is a MUST for taking notes when the doctors or other specialists breeze in and out after throwing out a half-dozen confusing terms. It also gives me a chance to list out my questions when I have a quiet moment to myself. I also always pack quick snacks for myself and a water bottle. And something mindless to do with my hands (crochet, thank you notes, anthing) to help fill the endless hours while my patient sleeps/rests.

Dawn @ Bent, not broken said...

Excellent suggestions!!! Thank you so much!!! I wonder.. I'll can keep adding these suggestions and make an ultimate hospital checklist. I found maybe 1 or 2 lists a few years back but they were either outdated and/or didn't suggest items that would benefit young children. Hmm..