This v. That: Should you visit someone in the hospital?
As I mentioned in my last post, I was recently hospitalized for six days, so I’d like to think I know a thing or two about hospital visitors. Like anything else, however, it’s a highly personal decision (both on your part and that of the person you’re visiting), so please keep in mind that every situation is unique.
This (i.e., reasons why I didn’t particularly want visitors)
- I was pretty tired and even when I wasn’t, I was supposed to be resting/recovering. Not the optimal time for socializing, especially since I felt somewhat obligated to entertain folks. Hard to do when you can barely sit up.
- At any given time, I had at least one IV attached. They weren’t particularly comfortable, and I was super paranoid anytime anyone got anywhere near the bed, lest they should accidentally pull on the line. I shudder even now thinking about it (P.S. Thankfully, that never actually happened).
- Do you know what they allow you to wear under hospital gowns? Nothing. Not a stitch. It’s weird to have a conversation when you’re basically naked. Yeah, you’ve probably never thought about that before, right??
- I smelled funny. Besides the fact that I couldn’t shower or brush my teeth for the first 24 hours, I smelled like…hospital. The nurses said it had something to do with the plastic they use, as well as their alcohol/cleaning solutions. Regardless, it wasn’t something I wanted to subject visitors to.
- Nurses are great, but are immune to embarrassment. They’ll poke, prod, and ask you less-than-comfortable questions no matter who’s in the room. You know who should have to hear when someone’s last bowel movement was? NO ONE.
That (i.e., reasons why you should visit):
The person asks you to.
That’s honestly the only reason I can think of. I totally understand that you might want to make sure for yourself that they’re ok, but save that for when they’re home. That’s what happened to me: I didn’t get many visitors during my six-day stay, so when I got home, I had no shortage of people to lift my spirits. No IVs, no nurses, and thank the Lord, no gowns.
The takeaway: Knowing someone is sick is scary, but remember that it’s scary for that person, too. Make sure you’re keeping their wishes ahead of your own. They’ll thank you for it.
If you’ve gotten the ok to visit, be sure to call first. You wouldn’t drop by someone’s house unexpectedly, right? Same principle. Once you’re there, strive to keep your visit to 20 minutes; 30 minutes max.
Bringing food for those convalescing is pretty standard practice. Just make sure you check first that they (1) aren’t under any dietary restrictions and (2) aren’t already inundated with food. My awesome co-workers waited until week two of my time at home, so right when we ran through the first batch of casseroles, we had more food delivered. Genius!
Don’t forget to check in with the spouse and/or family. My husband was so grateful not only to have people to talk to during the rough times, but that we had people to feed our cat and deliver work-related paperwork so he didn’t have to.
These are just my experiences. Other people may LOVE visitors. Have you ever had a hospital stay? Where do you stand on the issue?