Tag Archives: Hospital

A Hospital Stay Gone Wrong

A reader recently learned a few things about hospitals the hard way. Here is her story.

Hi WHN –

I just wanted to share some things I learned during a hospital stay so others might avoid similar unpleasantness.

It started with an upset stomach that I thought would go away. After a few days and lots of pink liquid, it became apparent that it wasn’t going anywhere. It seemed like a good idea to visit the Emergency Room.

That’s where the experience turned into something I won’t forget.

Of course, there was the normal waiting in the curtained room. However; it was freezing, and I was wearing a thin sheet of cotton that IS the hospital gown. I looked everywhere in the small room for a blanket. Nothing.

  • WHN TIP: If you have a chance, bring a blanket with you to the ER. Or, look for the blanket before the nurse leaves you in the curtained room. If there isn’t one visible, ask for a blanket right away. You don’t know how long you will be there and it could be very cold.

The doctor came in after what seemed like hours (hospital minutes can feel like hours).  Since I was obviously dehydrated and weak, it was recommended that I be admitted. (At this point, I was ready to let someone take care of me, especially if it meant I could lie down under a blanket.)

  • WHN TIP: Talk to the nurses who will be taking care of you in the hospital. In my case, I should have made a point of explaining my nausea and what it might mean for meal selections. I didn’t do that, but I will if this type of situation ever happens again because…….

I must have been slated for “regular meals” or something of the sort. The first day, that didn’t seem obvious to me. The food was bland and I could get some of it down. With the IV and some solid food, I felt hopeful.

That didn’t last. The second day, when I thought I might be getting stronger and the diagnosed stomach virus might be waning, things went downhill. Breakfast was a cold, hard bagel and cold hard-boiled eggs. Okay, that is bland, but not exactly appealing. (Again, I emphasize, talk to the nurses when things don’t seem right. Besides waking me at all hours to take my vital signs, they seemed to have my best interests at heart.)

Lunch on the second day made me realize that I hadn’t been managing my own care very well. Chili arrived. Not chili that you might recognize, but a mixture of red stuff, lumps of what might have been meat and miscellaneous vegetables. (If you have ever been nauseous and faced with something that looked disgusting, you know how I felt. I was ready to swear off solid food for life.)

  • WHN TIP: Remember that you have the right to individualized care. Although the staff has a schedule of assigned tasks, if you feel uneasy about your care, say something. Use the call button next to your bed and be proactive, even though you may not think you are up to it.

Dinner was my last hope. I wanted to keep solid food down since that was a criteria for going home. It was supposed to be chicken, but I’m really not sure what it was. My goal was simple – eat it.

I was finally discharged after two days that felt more like two weeks. I promised the doctor my nausea was better and I was ready to go home. At home the next day, I still needed help to get around and I couldn’t eat much, but at least I was out. It was a great learning experience for the future.

  • WHN TIP: Be ready to take control of your health care. Remember to ask for what you want when you want it. If you don’t say anything, you could wait for hours. The staff is probably busy, but they can’t help if you don’t tell them what you need. This doesn’t mean you should be demanding beyond reason, but using common sense as a guide, you shouldn’t have to go without answers to your questions, help with your pain or other comfort issues and the feeling that you received the best possible care.

Thanks for the advice!

If you have experiences you’d like to share, email me!

Save Money, Have a Baby (Part 4 of 5)

Hello – it’s our fourth post with great tips on saving money while you plan for your baby.

Missed the earlier ones? Here they are –

1. General hints about baby shopping

2. Saving when prepping the nursery and

3. Your on-the-go lifestyle.

4. Around the House
Home is where the heart is. This is also where you will be spending the majority of your time post baby. Here are some home-wise tips:

– Hospitals rent breast pumps by the day if you are interested in the try before you buy method. As you research right hospital for you, add this service to your list of questions!

– Stock up! Pump and Freeze.  Note that breast milk can be frozen in a chest type freezer for up to 6 months and a refrigerator freezer for up to 3.

– Is your blender lonely? Is that food processor collecting dust? Bust them out and make your own baby food. Freeze it in ice cube trays, pop the cubes out, and store in zip-top freezer bags. Walla!

– This is the ideal time to buy stock in your favorite battery company.  You will find yourself strongly supporting them.  Look into swings, monitors, toys, etc. that come with AC adaptors or rechargeable battery packs; reduce your carbon footprint.

See you soon for our fifth and final posting in the series!

- Sarah and Linda

Linda Bauchwitz and Sarah Chambers are a mother/daughter team and owners of Before & After Baby Planning LLC, a concierge and consulting service that helps new and expectant parents prepare for their new arrival.  They can be reached at 763-494-3201 and on the web at:  www.planning4baby.com.

Minor surgery for your child is still a major undertaking

By Steven W., busy dad and our family blogger

Recently our two-year old was scheduled to have minor surgery to correct a tendon problem in his hand, “digital tenovaginitis stenosans”, or more commonly, “trigger finger”.

This is just a quick surgery with local anesthesia for a cooperative adult, but for a toddler, they use general anesthesia, which is a whole different ballgame.

Given you’ve selected your hospital and become familiar with some of the “dos and don’ts” when at the hospital (visiting or otherwise), here are some quick tips on what to expect and how to prepare when your child undergoes general anesthesia:

1) Your child probably can’t have food or drink after midnight the night before, as a precaution for the general anesthesia. But after the surgery, your child will be quite thirsty and may be hungry too. Pack a thermos of milk or water, a spill-proof cup, and a bag of bland snacks and have them in the car for the trip home after the surgery.

2) Your child will probably be given a mild sedative to drink prior to the general anesthesia. This will relax your child as they get ready to be wheeled away to the surgery room. But as a parent, brace yourself — seeing your child on a gurney being wheeled into the surgery room is far from a relaxing experience.

3) If your toddler uses a pacifier, be sure to bring one or two with you into the post-surgery recovery room. Both parents will be needed for the post-surgery recovery – one to comfort the child and the other to listen to the instructions from the nurse.

4) Brace yourself when your child wakes up from the anesthesia — your child may start screaming and thrashing as the general anesthesia wears off. Immediately try to calm them by holding them, giving them a pacifier, rocking them — whatever it takes to calm them down. Our boy screamed and cried for over 30 minutes — he was frightened, disorientated, and probably a bit dizzy.

5) Once your child is released from the post-op recovery, head to your car, and offer them that cup full of milk or water and the snacks that you packed ahead of time.

6) Once you get home, watching some favorite videos would probably be a great activity for the first couple of hours. Keep offering fluids. One parent will probably need to pick up some prescriptions for pain medication and antibiotics, so be sure to plan on a trip to the pharmacy that same day.

Of course, ask your surgeon and anesthesiologist about any questions or concerns you have, and follow their instructions for a safe surgery and a quick recovery.

Our two year old was outside running and playing with his friends that same afternoon after the surgery. Kids are amazing in their ability to bounce back.

Do you have any additional advice or tips?   Comment or e-mail us!

Tiger Woods Out for the Season

2290074.JPG

Despite a well-fought victory on Monday, golf great Tiger Woods is out for the rest of the 2008 golf season – he’ll be undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left knee.

Surgeries can certainly put a dent in your plans. Planning a hospital stay? Here are some top tips from doctors, patients and nurses – read them before you head to the hospital:

1. Before you go to the hospital, you need to think about what happens after your stay.

  • For example, coordinate a ride home from the hospital (even if it is a short stay!).

2. You may want to consider having someone stay with you for a few days since you may be in some pain or even slightly immobile.

  • Be sure to arrange the extra help well in advance so a family member or friend can take time off work, if needed.

3. You may need extended medical care services after a surgery or other procedure, which requires some planning.

  • “If you’re having hip surgery and you know you have to stay in a rehab facility for a few weeks after your hospital stay, you may want to go visit those rehab centers (before your surgery) to make a good, informed choice about what your care is going to look like after you’ve had your acute care stay in a hospital,” Judy Pechacek, R.N., M.S., and vice president of Patient Care at Fairview Southdale Hospital in MN.

4. Keep reading…
Have a hospital stay tip? Post it in the Comments section below!!

Bringing Your Newborn Home

By Steven W., busy dad and our family blogger

2300011.JPGBringing your first newborn home from the hospital can be a daunting task for new parents. In particular, dealing with car seat installation can be frustrating, at best. Here are some tips to help get you and your car seat prepared.

Before the Big Day

1) Get the car seat, now

You will need a rear-facing infant car seat to take your newborn home from the hospital.
Don’t wait until the last minute to buy it and install it. Get one somewhere around week 30, or sooner.

Steven’s Tip: I recommend getting the type that detaches from the base. That way you can get a sleeping baby out of the car easily, without waking him or her up.

2) Do a dry run of the car seat installation

  • First, read through the installation guide to give you an idea on how to install the car seat, but don’t expect everything to be crystal clear. You may want to visit the car seat manufacturer’s website, in hopes that they have a helpful installation video. If your car has LATCH anchor points (and most newer cars do), plan on using them. Otherwise, use the seatbelt method.
  • Next, give yourself an unrushed hour to try to install the car seat the first time. After connecting all of the connectors, buckles, and tethers, pull the belts until snug, but do not tighten them. Take a step back and make sure the installation is right, none of the belts or straps are twisted, and give them all a good wiggle and tug.
  • After you are convinced everything is right, then start tightening each of the straps. Put a knee on the car seat and lean your weight into it as you tighten the straps. You want it to be snug-fitting installation.

3) Do the final car seat installation

Now evaluate the installation. Does it look right? Do you have any questions? Take a break, and consult the installation guide and website over the next week.

The next weekend you may need to take it completely out, make some adjustments, and install it again. Don’t worry about it, this is why you are starting early! Again, give yourself an hour. (After installing car seats dozens of times, it still takes me 15-20 minutes to put one in!)

TOP TIP: Get an expert opinion.
If you want an expert’s opinion, many states offer car seat evaluation appointments with the highway patrol or at local seat inspection stations.

Eventually your car seat will be all set for the big day, and even if that day arrives a little sooner than planned, you will be ready.

4) Make an Emergency Information card

Make and put an emergency information card on the side of the car seat. A simple 3×5 card with the child’s name and some emergency contact phone numbers will give you peace of mind.

5) Fill out the warranty card

This is the one and only warranty card that I fill out. You want to be the first to be notified if there is a safety recall on the car seat. This happens more often than you would expect.

On the Big Day

6) Bring the car seat into your room, early

Early in the morning on the big day that you will be taking your newborn home from the hospital, take the car seat out of your car and bring it into the hospital room. This shows the nurses that you have the required car seat, but more importantly, the car seat will adjust to room temperature and also give you an opportunity to test fit your newborn.

7) Test fit your newborn

A few hours before you will be checking out of the hospital, put your newborn in the car seat for a test fit. Adjust the straps as necessary for a snug fit, then take your newborn back out.

Now when the big moment arrives to leave the hospital, you will easily be able to put your newborn into the car seat with a minimum of hassle or delay. Congratulations!

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. These tips are from people who have shared their real life advice; always check with appropriate professionals you trust in making your purchasing or life-related decisions.