Lessons I’ve learned spending a week at the hospital

for the past two weeks a close relative of mine has been in the hospital after surgery.

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I accompanied my relative for a week- and more is yet to come- and during that intense week- I spent my days- and nights- at the hospital.

Beside giving birth to my children and accompanying friends and relatives to short procedures I’ve never spent such a long time at the hospital, and this experience has taught me some valuable lessons I thought I should share with you.

I am well aware that this was my own experience and that may not be the case in other places- but should my own experience help any of you when accompanying someone sick to a few days at the hospital be more prepared for the experience and make the necessary arrangements ahead to avoid the points I raise here- then at least I’ve helped someone.

I wish for all of you and your loved ones to never go through this experience.

# being in the hospital seems to the patient like imprisonment. 

you become one of many patients, you are basically confined to your bed-room-ward, you receive restricted hospital food and basically lose your independence. you are at the hands and mercy- of the doctors and nurses. I’ve met wonderful and attentive doctors and nurses at the hospital, but I’ve also met some that were not so empathic -due to massive work load perhaps or personal issues -we are all human and I definitely understand that, but being on the helpless- anxious -frightened side of the equation makes you inevitably dependant on whoever is across you at that moment, and for independent people like my relative- this was traumatic.

This is an issue to be addressed by hospital managers- because a stressed and frightened patient -takes more time to heal. he-she can’t sleep well , and can’t focus on their side of the operation- getting better. do not ignore the mental side of being hospitalized- this takes a big toll both on the patient and on his or her company.

#I am not sure people fully understand the direct connection between their own health behaviour -and their situation.

my relative has smoked for almost 60 years, and lately has been enjoying a jolly diet including mainly haagen-dazs ice cream and chardonnay. yet she couldn’t understand why she can’t just get better after her (lung cancer) surgery and just go back home.

I have no intention of judging anyone for their food-health any other choices.

I am a firm believer in live and let live. should anyone want to hear my input on those subjects well I’d be more than happy to give it, and this blog is an example , but I have no desire to impose my own beliefs on other people be they close family or work mates when they never wanted to hear it to begin with.

So I didn’t say anything about those “full of protein and vitamin” food choices and to my relatives surprise I didn’t even imply she should stop smoking. I fully understand when she says that for her this is an addiction she cannot get rid of . but at the same time I wished this connection was more clear. thoughts have crossed my mind about clean eating fun projects at schools, mandatory college classes concerning healthy habits, and maybe other innovative ways to promote public education on health subjects.

# I wonder if hospital managers put enough effort into making sure hospital food is based mainlyon fresh and healthy ingredients? Are they doing the best they can to ensure the patients sleep as much as they can and get moving as fast as they can in order to get well? is the direct connection between the patient’s nutrition-good sleep and exercise and quick healing prioritized?  I’ve seen a lot of carbs, dairy products and jams on my relative’s plate,  and an  occasional small plate of tired salad- not very appetizing.I saw patients woken up very early in the morning to have their blood pressure checked- and I am no doctor nor a nurse. maybe it is crucial to check blood pressure or give one pill at 5 am, but if that is not the case- and those check ups can wait untill 7 -I wish the importance of rest and healthy nutrition would call the shots- so to speak.

Trying to rest during the day was almost impossible mission at the hospital I was in, and when the patient is tired- he is weak- cannot start walking around and working his-her body- and the healing process is slowed.

*As soon as I came back home I treated myself to a quick pan grilled tofu marinated in a quick soy-mustard -rice vinegar-olive oil-agave  sauce. great with any grain- rice-bulgur- whatever. healthy clean eating is easy to arrange. just put your mind to it.

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have a great and healthy week- the cooliflower.

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