1. Keep the diaper bag overstocked and ready to go. There have been quite a few last minute doctors' appointments that I thought would be quick, but turned out to be all-day affairs. Having the diaper bag always packed meant that I was ready to go at a moment's notice and keeping it overstocked meant that I didn't run out of diapers when we were gone longer than anticipated.
2. Bring snacks for yourself. I learned this the hard way when a quick morning check-up with Little Dude's doctor turned into a transfer to the ER where we spent over five hours before being sent to the hospital for an overnight stay. I didn't have time to eat breakfast before I left and assumed I'd be home for lunch. It was after 9 pm before I was finally able to get something to eat.
|Little Dude's first hospitalization|
3. Bring something to do. You will probably spend a lot of time sitting at the doctors office and in the hospital. Most places have free wi fi so definitely take advantage of that if you have a mobile device. Don't forget chargers for your phone, tablet, etc so they don't die on you! The first time Little Dude was admitted to the hospital, my phone went dead before I was able to finish making the phone calls I needed to make to update family on what was going on and locate a babysitter for the night for the older kids.
4. Keep your child's outfits simple. If you have babies or small children, you know that they usually have to get undressed at the doctors' anyways. When your child is seeing multiple doctors or is hospitalized, certain outfits will make exams easier. While Little Dude was in the hospital, they allowed him to wear his own clothes so he'd be more comfortable. I dressed him in sleepers that snapped down the front so we could run wires and tubes in between the snaps and easily undress him for exams. After he got his G Tube placed, I continued to dress him in snap-front sleepers for a while because it allowed for easy access to his button.
|Little Man and Star admiring the view from Little Dude's hospital room|
5. Know your family and friends' work schedules. I'm not saying you need to memorize their hours, but it helps to have at least an idea of when they are usually at work so you know who is most likely to be available when you need a last-minute babysitter for your other kids or a ride to the hospital.
6. Take a notebook to appointments for notes and questions. When Little Dude was hospitalized in May, I bought a notebook to keep track of all the tests they were running, questions I needed to ask during rounds, his weight checks, etc. It was immensely helpful. I've since upgraded him to a 3 ring binder with sections such as contact info for his specialists, questions, a list of his symptoms and diagnoses, weight checks, etc for organizing information.
7. Use your cell phone alarm for feedings or medication reminders. My phone stores up to 10 alarms so in the morning, I set the alarms for feedings every three hours the rest of the day. When you get busy, time can get away from you so it helps to have an actual reminder.
|Little Dude when he got the Ng tube|
8. Accept help from others when they offer, don't be afraid to ask for help, and realize that this is your new normal. Yeah, it's hard to have to ask people for help when you want to be able to do everything on your own, but you're going to need help and emotional support. I wrote a blog post about this a while back, but even I have a hard time dealing with the fact that I need a lot of help now.
9. Always remember: you're stronger than you think you are. I'm sure you never thought this would be your reality, but here you are. Allow yourself to fall apart and just cry sometimes when you need to. You can't be strong all the time, but you can pick yourself back up and keep moving forward.
Do you have any tips to share? Leave a comment-I'd love to hear them!
Thanks so much for visiting Supermommy!...Or Not. I'd love for you to like me on facebook" and follow me on Instagram!