Top 10 Items to Bring to the Hospital
Is your infant or child scheduled for a test such as an endoscopy or a pH probe? It pays to follow the Boy Scout motto and “Be Prepared!” I have been to the hospital too many times for scheduled and unplanned visits with my refluxers and I have needed every one of the items on this list!
What I bring to the hospital:
- Extra Food for your Picky Eater: Many hospitals, especially children’s hospitals have improved their food selections with many child friendly options. If your child only eats one brand of breakfast cereal and two other foods, it is best to bring your own supply of food just in case. It is particularly important to bring food in your child’s diet for a pH probe when you and the doctor want to get data on typical foods and activities that cause reflux episodes.
- Extra Clothes for both of you. I like to have my cozy sweat pants and a warm sweater or jacket in case the ventilation system is too warm or cold. My little ones like familiar clothes and it helps us keep in our routine. If you put on your pajamas, it must be time to sleep, right?!
- Special Comfort Items: Your child will cling to her blankie, stuffed toy and pacifier with an iron grip the entire time. Can you blame her? Make sure you keep track of these items so they don’t get left behind on a trip to radiology or the cafeteria for a snack.
- Entertainment: Most hospitals have a DVD or video player. Some even have game systems for kids. Call ahead and find out. You will both need some quiet time and this is a great way to take a mental break and give your child some time to relax.
- Candy Bar (for you). I always wish that I packed more chocolate bars when I am in the hospital. Chocolate is my ultimate comfort food.
- Few Dollars: It is nice to have a few dollars for a real cup of coffee from the coffee shop in the lobby, a balloon from the gift shop and of course money to pay for parking. You will be so ready to leave!
- Wrapped Presents (think Dollar Store). You don’t have to promise your child a shiny new bike but a few wrapped presents from the Dollar Store will certainly cheer her. Once I brought a few wrapped toys for a planned pH probe test and my daughter was so upset, I went through the first 4 presents in an hour! The moment she started feeling sad, another present appeared. I was really glad to have something to distract her. Suitable presents include: coloring book, crayons, markers, craft kit, small board game, playing cards, bubbles, balloons and building blocks.
- Cell Phone: There may be restrictions on using your cell phone but you need a lifeline to the outside world.
- File of Medical Records: The hospital staff will have a great deal of information but I always like to have a full set of medical records on my child. Sometimes the medical records have verified that a blood test or x ray was already done, saving my little one from an unnecessary procedure.
- Notebook: I bring a notebook to write down notes so I can remember the tests done, test results, medication doses and recommendations from the doctor. The doctor will still give you a form with discharge information but I like keeping a running record during the duration of the visit. I can also write down my questions for the doctor. Once a doctor came in on rounds at 5am and asked if I had any questions before discharge. My mind was numb with fatigue and I wasn’t sure if he really came or if it was a dream. Did I ask any questions? No. Did I have questions at discharge? Yes!
I started writing about my experiences from the first time my daughter was hospitalized. I didn’t expect to go right from the pediatrician’s office to the children’s floor of the local hospital so I only had a small note pad to keep notes and write down my thoughts and feelings. Writing about my experiences helped me to sort out my feelings during some overwhelming times in my life. In time, my stories turned into articles and then a book so you never know where your little notes scrawled on a piece of paper will lead you!
Now it is your turn. What are your “must have” items when you bring your little one with reflux to the hospital for a test?