I mean mess is annoying, sleepless nights are a massive challenge – but the anxiety of an unwell kid is definitely at the top of my list of parenting horrors.
Our experiences with our two so far (they’re 4 and 8) have ranged from one swallowing a marble and needing a general anaesthetic and a team of surgeons to remove it, to teeth getting knocked out to epileptic seizures.
Yeah – I’m something of an expert when it comes to A&E trips.
I’m writing this from a ward right now in fact.
Don’t worry – everything is fine.
But you get a lot of thinking time when you’re waiting around – looking up hopefully when someone not in blue scrubs appears.
So here are some tips for parents or carers taking their kids into hospital.
I’ve got this list stuck in my diary so I don’t need to think. (You tend to be a tad preoccupied when your child needs urgent medical attention).
I’ve also suggested some stuff you can do to help if your friends are stressed with ill children:
Things to pack
- Juice in a sports bottle
- Chopped fruit in little tupperwares
- A large flask of water for parents
- Change for vending machines
- A phone charger
- Extra joggers and t-shirt
- Notebook and pen
- Moisturiser and lip balm – hospitals are so dry
- Toothbrush and paste – trust me, a fresh mouth is a mental pick me up
- Nail clippers (especially if they’re going to be sleeping/sedated/under anaesthetic – get their toenails while they can’t kick you)
Things you can do for your friends
- Send a text saying thinking of you
- Offer practical help like collecting a sibling or dropping off dinner
- Send short positive texts – like a funny picture or a joke
- Don’t harass them with ‘any news’ (please please)
What not to do in hospital
- Drink too much coffee – trust me, you’re jagged enough
- Overheat – wear layers
- Spend too much time on your phone
- Pull the curtains round your cubicle – it only isolates you
- Be shy – especially if you’re in for a while – chatting to other parents and kids can make the whole experience almost enjoyable
Even though it’s properly shit being in hospital for any length of time with your kids – I will be forever grateful for the NHS.
The staff are incredible – they’re caring, positive and helpful.
We are so lucky to have it – so if you do have any snacks or teabags or toys that you’d like to leave for the ward or nurses I would recommend it. Even a note to say thanks seems the least we can do.
Finally – if you’re facing a hospital trip – be strong. All our kids need from us is love and comfort, the doctors and nurses can do the rest.