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Old 05-26-2009, 11:40 AM   #1
Philagoofy
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Visiting relatives in the hospital

If you have a close relative in the hospital, such as a spouse, how often do you visit and how long do you stay, an hour, 4-5 hours at a time? Especially if you do not have anyone to take care of such as children. Let's also assume that you have a job from which you are allowed to use vacation time whenever you'd like. Would you leave work early every day to sit with them while they watch tv, sleep, read, talk? If the person will be in the hospital for several days, perhaps a week or 2 and they get very few other visitors, would you spend hours there to keep them company? Also add that they've been hospitalized many times in the past few years.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:49 AM   #2
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Dh was the hospital for 2 weeks 2 years ago. I work full time and we have a DD who was 12 at the time. I went to the hosp on my way to work every day- left as soon as DD got on the bus. I usually only stayed until the Dr came in for the morning rounds and was at work before 9. I would also go over in the evening for about 1/2 hour unless DH told me not too because DD had things to do.

When he was in the hosp 9 years ago and DD was 5 I did the same thing except I didn't visit in the evening unless I had someone that could watch her for a few minutes because she wasn't allowed on the floor he was on.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:51 AM   #3
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I think it depends on the condition of the patient. When my dad had a stroke, he was unable to really make his needs known. I'd stop by on my way to work to help him eat breakfast. They'd leave the tray on the side where he couldn't move his arm. The nurses were very busy at that time of day so I'd stop by and help. My mom would then come and spend the day with him. I'd stop on my way home and let Mom run some errands before I headed home. Then I'd spend all day on Saturday or Sunday.

When Mom's been in the hospital and it hasn't been serious, I'd stop by after work for a couple of hours. When it's serious, then I take time off work and spend all day.

Luckily, I haven't had this situation with DH or DD but I'd do the same for them. When a patient isn't really feeling up to snuff, it's good to have someone to be an advocate for them or someone to just help out so they don't have to depend on a nurse for every little thing.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:52 AM   #4
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Too many variables for me to answer specifically. When my husband was in the hospital I stayed with him for hours each day. When I was in the hospital he did the same and even stayed overnight. I suspect the reason for being hospitalized plays a big part though. Also depends on what the hospitalized person wants. Some people like the company more than others.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:57 AM   #5
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Whenever I have been hospitalized I really didn't want any visitors - if I was sick enough to be in the hospital, all I wanted to do was be left alone. And that included DH.

When my Dad was hospitalized for a few days prior to entering home hospice care, I visited him nightly.

When DH was hospitalized last year, I stayed at the hospital while he was in surgery/recovery. Once I had seen him, I came home because he was worried about DD arriving home from school alone, even though she was 16 at the time. I respected his wish that I stay away the next day and allow him to just lay around and watch movies on the portable DVD player. His surgery was on Wednesday and they were uncertain whether he would be discharged on Friday or Saturday. If Saturday, DD and I were going to drive to Portland to bring him dinner from his favorite restaurant and she and I were going to spend the night in a hotel. He ended up being discharged on Friday so I drove up to get him while DD was in school. The hospital he had surgery at was 75 miles (a two hour drive over back country roads) away. If he had been local, I probalby would have gone and sat with him for a while each day. But he said he worried about DD and even more about me driving through the backwoods on Maine late at night!
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:02 PM   #6
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What's really difficult, is when your loved one is in the hospital, and lives several hours away. This was the case with my Dad, on many occasions, over the past several years.

It was a real struggle with me, because he was in and out so much. If it was a situation where his condition was more serious, I'd go down and stay a few days. I was fortunate to be in a situation where I could take some days off work if I needed to. If it was a situation where, it wasn't quite as serious, I'd go down on the weekend and visit. He and my step-mother lived only about 15 minutes from the hospital, so she went to visit him daily, and usually stayed 4-5 hours.

There were times when the situation created stress and tension between my step-mother and I, because I wasn't always there when she thought I should be, but I just tried to do what I thought was right, and tried to make the best of the situation, because even if I visited every day, it wouldn't have pleased her, but such is life.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:09 PM   #7
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When my younger DS was 17 and in the hospital for 4 days, I spent the nights there with him, on a fold out chair/bed. DH came in the morning, then I went home and showered and went right back. I'll never forget DSis and her DH came by at dinnertime once and insisted that we leave for a few hours and stayed with him. And he was 17!

My Mom has been in the hospital 3 different times in the past 4 months, and I'm there as much as I can. I work in the morning, so I went over right after work and was there before noon. One of my sisters would come late afternoon, then I would leave. I hated not being there in the AM, when the doctors made rounds. Our goal these days is to not have her admitted.

If DH were in the hosp, I'd be there 24/7 (if they'd let me!) But if there are younger children in the picture, that changes everything.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:18 PM   #8
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I was in the hospital in March and it worked out great. I put my parents up at the Rotary House Hotel at MD Anderson, it's right attached. That way they could go get a good night's sleep on a real bed, not those lousy chairs. I could get some real sleep by myself when the nurses weren't poking me. Then they would show up sometime after breakfast, hang around a couple of hours, bugger off and go shopping or whatever while I did PT and OT. They'd show up sometime back around dinner time, stay for a couple hours and go back to the hotel. It was the best I could have hoped for.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:27 PM   #9
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I guess everyone handles the situation different because this is what happened in my family some 18 years ago.

My Dad and my FIL were hospitalized on the exact same day in two different hospitals for 2 weeks. Both had numerous heart problems and had been hospitalized before.

My Mom (who was working part time) spent pretty much every minute with my Dad. They had all their meals together. She brought him special things to get him to eat and things to occupy him (watermelon, crossword puzzles, board games, etc). She did not go to work. She did go home to sleep.

My MIL was retired but would sub for people here and there. The day AFTER FIL was admitted, they asked her to sub and she agreed. She spent the two weeks working when she didn't have to. She would come to visit for 15 minutes on her way to work. She would always bring stuff for the nurses (bagels, donuts, etc) but nothing for FIL. On the way home from work, she would swing in after getting her hair or nails done for about 1/2 an hour. One night while we were visiting, she wanted to take his newspaper with her even though he hadn't had a chance to read it. I was so ticked. I went and bought another one and pretty much threw it at her on her way out.

Both my Dad and my FIL passed away many years ago. My Mom still mourns but she is a happy person. My MIL is a bitter old lady.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:28 PM   #10
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It's interesting that this should come up, because I wonder about the same thing.

My mom is in the hospital now, and this is the 6th time in the past year. She's usually in for at least a week at a time. I never know what is right.

People always say "well, at least when she's in you can get a break" because we do a lot of care for her, but honestly it's usually the same time commitment between the visits, phone calls, checking on her house, etc.

I usually wind up going every day for the first 3-4 days and every other weekday after that. I usually visit each weekend day. I stay about 3 hours on a weekday and about 4-5 hours on a weekend.

It's really hard, because your life just grinds to a complete halt and you feel like you should be at the hospital all the time, but then you don't get any time to yourself--you spend all of your time either at work, doing errands/chores, at the hosptial, or falling exhaused into bed. So you either go for every spare moment and feel overwhelmed or stay home and feel guilty.

If anyone figures out the right answer, I'd love to hear it!
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:41 PM   #11
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Depends why they are in the hospital and the person. I don't have a standard that I go by.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:47 PM   #12
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I think the best thing to do is just ask them what they want.

As someone already said, when I have been sick enough to be in the hospital I really just wanted to be left alone. I enjoyed having DH and friends come to see me for a brief visit but I really just wanted to sleep or veg. Not worry about feeling like I needed to entertain others or have them entertain me. And of course as soon as I needed to get out of bed to visit the bathroom I really wanted everyone out since those gowns are not made for public use! I would have rather had several short visits than one or two long visits.

I did have a close friend in the hospital and I called to see if she wanted me to come up and watch our favorite show together. I went up and we had a good time watching it together and I left shortly after.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pearlieq View Post
It's interesting that this should come up, because I wonder about the same thing.

My mom is in the hospital now, and this is the 6th time in the past year. She's usually in for at least a week at a time. I never know what is right.

People always say "well, at least when she's in you can get a break" because we do a lot of care for her, but honestly it's usually the same time commitment between the visits, phone calls, checking on her house, etc.

I usually wind up going every day for the first 3-4 days and every other weekday after that. I usually visit each weekend day. I stay about 3 hours on a weekday and about 4-5 hours on a weekend.

It's really hard, because your life just grinds to a complete halt and you feel like you should be at the hospital all the time, but then you don't get any time to yourself--you spend all of your time either at work, doing errands/chores, at the hosptial, or falling exhaused into bed. So you either go for every spare moment and feel overwhelmed or stay home and feel guilty.
If anyone figures out the right answer, I'd love to hear it!
Yes, this is the way I feel. There have been quite a few times that my husband has been in a room with someone else & I'm there for hours but the other person doesn't get visitors or if they do, it's for a short time. Of course, they may not have anyone near or able to get there. I know it's unpleasant & boring for him to be in there, but after all of these years, all of these hospitalizations, I'm just tired of it. I know that makes me sound petty & very selfish. After all, I'm not the one who is sick. I've taken a lot of time off from work, not the way I want to use all of my vacation time, yes, again being very selfish. It's like it's never going to end though. Always something new, something else is going to happen. Yes, I know it's worse for him, he's going through it first hand. I'm selfish, that's why I come here & ask this so I can learn from you guys - as I have about other things here.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mystery Machine View Post
Depends why they are in the hospital and the person. I don't have a standard that I go by.
Ditto. It's different for each person and situation.
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:30 PM   #15
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I know I am new here but I totaly understand what you are going through. My Dh has many medical problems. Nothing life threatening just multiple hospital stays in as many years. I know none of it is his fault and that makes me feel guilty for feeling the way I do about visiting/taking care of him. (Somewhat resentful) I too have taken many vacation days for hospital stays and doctor's visits. Then there are the children. Granted they are older and can pretty much take care of themselves but I don't feel comfortable leaving them for long periods of time so overnight/ 6 hour stays are out. Well because of my not wanting to leave the children to their own devices Dh feels neglected by me. It's a constant internal struggle with what is right. I feel your pain.
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