|Ever since I woke up in a Boston hospital with two, new, titanium alloy, hip joints in place, Iíve been thinking
about what advice I would give to someone facing hospitalization. Hereís the list.|
• Have an advocate/helper with you as often as you can. My husband George was
invaluable to me as a helper, a witness, and an advocate. He was with me most of the day while I was in the acute care
wing and stayed in the room with me in the rehab wing. Even in an excellent hospital there were problems that I was glad
I did not have to handle alone.
• Know that you are in a vulnerable position. Dealing with pain, the unknown, and
dependence takes its toll. I kept apologizing for being teary on my first day post-op after I had a scare. I kept trying
to be my usual self when I wasnít my usual self. A nursing supervisor later in the day kindly assured me that my reactions
were perfectly appropriate and healthy.
• Speak up if medications and treatments do not suit you. Often there are alternatives
but youíll never know them if you donít speak. No one knows what you are experiencing better than you do. I needed a change
of pain medication and did not state my symptoms loudly enough or soon enough to avoid a worsening of the symptoms.
• Ask what to reasonably expect in terms of service (how long to wait for someone
to answer a call signal, for instance). And know what to do or whom to contact during the regular day and on weekends,
evenings and nights if there are problems.
One of my call bells was fickle and didnít always work. That was a problem
when I needed help getting to the bathroom. Fortunately that time George was there to rescue me. Having my telephone on
the over-the-bed table where I could easily reach it gave me assurance that I had another way to summon help if need be.
• Bring to the hospital a small, Walkman-like CD player with earphones and your
favorite music to relax you and to help you sleep. My little CD player was a last minute purchase on the way to the hospital.
I was grateful for it every day of my stay and continued to use it during the first weeks of recovery at home. Even now just
thinking of the music brings a peaceful dreaminess.
• Enjoy talking with the nurses, assistants, therapists, doctors, and other staff
members. I found that a personal atmosphere was a benefit to them and to me.