Tolerating Hospital Stays

Time spent in the hospital for a sick child can be endless. The surroundings are unpleasant, unfamiliar, frightening and boring. Waiting for doctors, procedures and scans can eat up hours.

While even adults have a hard time tolerating long waits, children are beyond miserable. Add being sick to the equation and it is not a pretty picture.

Playing games, watching TV and reading are great distractions, but only go so far. Human interaction is desperately needed as sick children go to school and engage with their friends so much less than they did before they became ill. Kids in the hospital naturally feel left out of all the goings-on at school and worry that their friends will forget about them.

I found that setting up visits for Taylor in the hospital to be a wonderful solution. Friends of course had school, work and other obligations, but spreading out the visits gave Taylor much to look forward to. I was careful not to impose on any child or adult who found it too difficult to see Taylor in that environment or in that condition.

I was amazed at how many friends, and even acquaintances, were willing and able to visit. People need to know if and when they are welcome to visit. Let people know to plan a time in advance or at least let you know when they’re thinking of coming. It tells them they are not intruding and gives you and your child some structure and variation in your day. No matter how sick Taylor was, these visits did her (and me) a world of good.

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