We made it through another emergency and hospital stay. Jaycee is home resting and recovering but overall doing well. A week in the hospital conjures up all sorts of feelings. Exhaustion is one of them. The hospital we use is very good at accommodating parents. I was fortunate enough to have had a couch like bench to sleep on during that week. It beats the chairs in some of the other rooms. Unfortunately, the floor we were on was loaded with other kids having asthma flare ups.
That meant the inevitable...a roommate. I always hope we won't get a roommate but it generally happens. That's part of being in the hospital, unless you are blessed enough to get the coveted private room. I really dislike having a roommate. First, your privacy (what little you have in a hospital) goes to nearly nothing. Someone behind the curtain can hear your phone conversations and anything else you say. We have overheard some very interesting conversations over the years. Second, when you have a roommate the curtain dividing the two beds gets pulled across the center of the room. It makes the already small room feel even smaller. After a few days, I feel like I'm going to suffocate in that tiny space. Third, you are often subject to your roommate's schedule. Your roommate may be a night owl and you may be an early riser. This causes some problems.
We have had several memorable roommates. There once was a boy who had ADHD who was in the hospital for a few nights following a seizure. He constantly messed with his bed. I heard the bed moving up and down all day and all night. It was funny when he would go in the bathroom and pull the cord that alerts the nurses of a problem. He did it every time!
Then there was the roommate who had RSV. It was a baby, of course, but Jaycee was in the hospital with RSV (when she was 5 years old) for the second year in a row. Hearing Jaycee's story (because the roommates can hear everything you tell the doctor) and seeing her breathe hard really freaked the parents out. They called the doctors in and asked them if their baby was going to have problems later on and if it was going to die. They were crying and freaking out. They got discharged the next day, so I think everything was fine. I felt sorry for them; they were so scared.
I could go on and on but I won't. I do want to offer some tips if you are ever in the hospital and sharing a room with someone. Thanks for the idea Karen!
How to be a good roommate when your kid is in the hospital:
1. Ask the hospital when their visiting hours are. Our hospital is from 9 am to 9 pm. Use these hours as a guideline for how loud your tv should be or how bright your lighting should be.
2. Consider how long the other person has been at the hospital. You may just be staying one night and want to stay up late. Your roommate may had a rough week or even longer. They may be exhausted. Just because the curtain is pulled in the room doesn't mean they can't magically hear your tv or voices talking.
3. If a patient in the room is sleeping, please be courteous. The patient may need rest due to their illness. If a patient is asleep, do your visiting in another room or whisper. This is not the time for three siblings and a baby to visit!
4. It is most polite to ask your roommate before adjusting the heat/air or turning on/off the main lights. Jaycee is very hot natured. Yet, one of our last roommates insisted on having the room fairly warm because the mom was cold! Which takes me to the next point....
5. The time in the hospital is not about your needs mom & dad. Yes, you matter but your child amd the one in the bed next to them is the most important thing. Sacrifice this time for them. If your child wants to watch cartoons, don't argue with them. They are stuck in a bed in a small room. They aren't having fun either. Buy a magazine or cards or something to occupy your time. Make yourself available to your child. One mom I once shared a room seemed to constantly come up with a reason not to be in the room (smoke break, phone call, errand). The poor kid was alone most of the time but I'm sure the mom didn't realize it.
6. Please do not sleep with the tv on all night. I don't care how low the volume is, the sound will carry. If your child needs the tv to sleep, please turn it to the lowest volume or off after they are sound asleep.
7. There is a rule on most floors of our hospital that if a patient is potty trained, then none of the family should use the bathroom in the patient's room. Family members are suppose to go to the public bathrooms down the hall. Please do not ask the patient's family to move bathroom necessaries so you can use the bathroom.
If you do all of these things, you are well on your way to becoming a well liked roommate.