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  1. #1
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    Default How to visit a friend in the hospital - need advice, tips - She's home!

    I have a good friend who was rushed to the hospital 10 days ago with a serious life threatening allergic reaction to a prescription medication.

    She is out of the ICU, but now in the burn unit. (if you want to scare yourself, go Google Steven-Johnsons syndrome).

    I would like to go visit her, as her husband said the doctors feel that visitors would help her mental state and help with her recovery.

    I'll be honest, I am horrible at these sorts of things, not knowing what to say or what to do to help her feel okay.

    Any pointers?
    Last edited by MunchkinsMom; Apr. 22, 2011 at 10:58 PM.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  2. #2
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    Just go and be nice. Ask is there anything you can do outside the hospital for her, that would be helpful, and is there anything you could bring her.

    Be a friend, which sometimes means just showing up
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  3. #3
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    Keep your visit short! She will be happy to see you, but if you're sick enough to be in the hospital, you really don't have the strength for long visits.

    Maybe a new music cd? Something where she could listen to music? TV is so tiring.
    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry



  4. #4
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    Well, what I do is just ask how they feel and make some comforting noises and then continue on with the sorts of conversations that you ordinarily have, I bring a card, or if they like to read I bring a good book and that sets up a good talking point, but basically my method is designed to remove their focus from the issues of their illness, fear, pain etc.. Be prepared to leave before they tire.

    Never be afraid to tell jokes or funny stories! Years ago I sat up in the emergency room with a friend and read to her, to pass time while we waited for the orthopedic surgeon. She'd dislocated her elbow and was happily morph'ed up but still waiting out in the hall was a drag.

    If you are visiting someone in the ICU, just being there can be good enough, talk to them even if they are not responsive, supposedly they can hear what you say.

    Please do go, it might make her feel so much better just to see a friendly face!
    Last edited by ReSomething; Feb. 5, 2011 at 07:13 PM. Reason: yes, sometimes visits need to be short
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  5. #5
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevens...hnson_syndrome

    Jesus! Sending huge jingles to your friend. How horrible.
    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post
    Just go and be nice. Ask is there anything you can do outside the hospital for her, that would be helpful, and is there anything you could bring her.

    Be a friend, which sometimes means just showing up
    Ditto this, exactly.

    Be prepared, though. I suspect she's in a pretty rough state and it may shock you. My daughter had Kawasaki's Disease this fall which presents in a similar manner to Steven Johnson's, and it was hard to even look at her. We limited visitors, but even friends and family who saw her could barely hide the at times and it was tough. Frankly *I* could barely hide the so I understand, but still. Just be prepared for the worst!
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  7. #7
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    OMG , I am so sorry for your friend. I have never heard of this but just Googled it - that is scary!!! Your friend is very lucky to be receiving treatment that is working (she's out of ICU now) - apparently things could have been much worse.

    As far a going to visit her, I think the most important thing is this:

    Quote Originally Posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
    ...
    I would like to go visit her, as her husband said the doctors feel that visitors would help her mental state and help with her recovery. ...
    She is probably feeling very isolated, frightened, and alone right now. Seeing and talking to friends would bring her a real connection to *life* outside.

    It is very hard to see those we care about in this kind of situation, but I think the most important thing to think about is that, right now, it is all about them and not us. Would seeing you bring her a little joy and some distraction from her present situation? Maybe bring her some pretty flowers or a plant. Or, if she is up to it, how about a nice picnic lunch to share.

    I think that anything you could do to encourage her would be invaluable. So even though it is tough, just keep reminding yourself that you're doing this for her, because you want her to feel better. And if this will help boost her spirits and speed her recovery - what better reason is there than that?

    Sending her mega jingles.



  8. #8
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    But go. Don't stay away because you don't know what to say. Go, for her, for you and for your friendship.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  9. #9
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    yep, remind her that tough times go away but tough people dont!!
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm



  10. #10
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    Just go. And ask before you go if there's anything you can bring--a friend brought me a salad! (I wasn't on restricted diet, though, so check if food is okay, but I will say I LOVED it--hospital food wasn't big on fresh vegetables and fruit, just mass cooking and it was so nice to have something fresh.) It was just nice to have visitors, even when I was drowsy and maybe only stayed awake for an hour at a time. Once you know you're not in imminent danger of dying but you're too sick to go home, it gets really, really monotonous being in the hospital. Any visit, conversation, something to read, is nice.



  11. #11
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    I need to check with her husband again, last report she was intubated as the rash was in her throat, and pretty much sedated, I'm going to try to go visit tomorrow. I guess if she can't talk, then I will have to do all the talking.

    And yes, that is why I Googled it, so I would be mentally prepared for what I might see.

    Her poor husband is exhausted, and not looking too good himself running back and forth. I offered to keep his dog with us so he could just stay there, but I think he needs the break, and having to come home at least to tend to his dog helps with that.

    Thanks for the jingles and advice, every little bit helps.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  12. #12
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    Dear, wonderful, generous, beloved, and never-to-be-forgotten Sudanese NBA star Manute Bol died last year from S-J syndrome.

    If you can go, then GO. I say this as someone who gets the willies at the hospital.

    Depending on their condition, etc. bring along books and magazines and be prepared to chat about normal stuff that's going on in life. It's a nice break from the worry, stress, and discussions centering on the immediate medical situation.

    Had a wonderful colleague in a bad car accident and paralyzed from the waist down in hospital in Nairobi last year. I went to visit him every 3 or 4 days for about 4 weeks. We chit chatted and gossiped about fun work stuff and when he got a bit tired he told me later he enjoyed just being their while I hung out with his family members who were there 24/7.

    I couldn't imagine being in the hospital as a patient, no matter how bad the situation, where I would NOT be fall-on-my-knees grateful for the visits of good friends.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MunchkinsMom View Post

    Her poor husband is exhausted, and not looking too good himself running back and forth. I offered to keep his dog with us so he could just stay there, but I think he needs the break, and having to come home at least to tend to his dog helps with that.

    Thanks for the jingles and advice, every little bit helps.
    How kind of you! Maybe he needs laundry done? Or a few meals prepared? And once she returns home they will still need a hand so maybe there is a way you can help them out then.

    You are a good friend.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlashGordon View Post
    How kind of you! Maybe he needs laundry done? Or a few meals prepared? And once she returns home they will still need a hand so maybe there is a way you can help them out then.

    You are a good friend.
    Aw, shucks, it's the least I can do for them, they are also good friends and neighbors, and we try to help each other all the time.

    We touch base daily with him, and did take their dog to stay with us when she was first admitted, and on day three he called to say he was on his way home (because his sons were flying in) and could he pick up his dog? I think he needs the dog to help him cope while he is home.

    I think once she becomes more stable (doctors say she might be in the hospital for a month) he might be able to come for dinner, and we do offer to help all the time.

    Good point about the laundry, and I will ask about his trash (we have to do our own dump runs).
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  15. #15
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    If she can't read, what about a book on CD? I've heard that "The Help" is wonderful in this format -- you may be able to pick it up from the library...or doesn't Cracker Barrel have a good deal w/ books on CD?



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben and Me View Post
    If she can't read, what about a book on CD? I've heard that "The Help" is wonderful in this format -- you may be able to pick it up from the library...or doesn't Cracker Barrel have a good deal w/ books on CD?
    Good idea. I think I also have a portable DVD player that we don't use, I could bring that, and some DVD's.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  17. #17
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    how terrible.
    go. try to keep the in check, but I understand it might not be easy.

    Do bring some good food, if not for her then for her husband. Though they do feed you plenty, hospital food is just not as good. (personally i would probably appreciate some cultural touches such as a place mat and real dinner ware, opposed to the carry out containers, but that is just me)

    A CD she might like would be nice, maybe audio books if reading itself is difficult.
    (I find myself laughing loudly reading terry Pratchett, I hear Christopher More is amusing)

    but I also second that the husband might need a break, a good meal and a good night's rest once she is more stable.

    When my FIL was in the hospital (suspected colon cancer) I made it a point NOT to be too serious.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.



  18. #18
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    Pictures. My mom loved having photos of the dogs and horses at the hospital so she could show her nurses. During the day i'd take the dogs out to play and bring her new pictures during her stay.
    ---------------------------
    University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2012
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brio View Post
    Pictures. My mom loved having photos of the dogs and horses at the hospital so she could show her nurses. During the day i'd take the dogs out to play and bring her new pictures during her stay.
    GREAT idea.

    Also, if she is sedated and intubated, just go sit with her. Let her know you are there but that she does not have to do anything at all so she doesnt feel an obligation to acknowledge you and possibly become agitated about being intubated.

    Such a good friend!
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  20. #20
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    Yes. Go. But remember, this time is about HER and not about YOU. YOU get to LEAVE. She doesn't.

    (whoops - editing - I didn't mean this to come off accusatory or harsh! Just meant to keep the perspective focused on her)

    That being said, take your tack from her. If she wants to be distracted, tell stories. If she just wants your presence, fine. If she wants to vent, listen. But treat her like she is your friend, and a person, and not a disease. No one wants to be defined by their problem.
    Last edited by DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"; Sep. 12, 2011 at 01:19 AM.
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