Re: Your First Experience of Hospital
Ach, I really really don't want to scare anyone...
It was awful, for me, I'd say I was actually pretty traumatised by it, especially considering how stressful I sometimes find it to visit hospitals now (dizziness/panic attacks at times). Well, it didn't help that it went badly, though, that was a big part of it. Nerve damage and being on ketamine and hallucinating all over the place wasn't much fun. Still get extremely vivid nightmares now, and I never did before.
Ask about scaring, and if anything can help healing. Mine is painful/uncomfortable, feels kind of tight, so it's not simply about the appearance of it. It wasn't something the hospital addressed at all. Also get someone to check for you they removed all the stitches properly! Some of mine (at the top at the back, where I couldn't see) were left in, and I ended up getting a really nasty infection that took a long time to heal, not what I needed on top of the rest of my recovery, especially as it made wearing the brace difficult.
Make sure they pay attention to how you normally are. They almost gave me a totally unnecessary blood transfusion, because they forgot to check my details - my blood pressure is naturally low anyway.
I found it hard to be on the children's ward, with very young children. They'd cry often, which I found upsetting (tried to climb out of bed and cheer them up, but there was only so much I could do really, wasn't in much of a state to help), and kind of disruptive at night, I'm afraid. The nights were the worst, because I could not sleep and they really dragged on. If you're a parent, make sure kids feel confident to ask for painkillers and anything they need - I had to pretty much demand stuff in the end, because honestly the nurses were not caring at all. I felt so bad for the younger kids, ended up calling them over myself to ask them to give one girl her painkillers (they were intentionally ignoring her, I heard them talking about her and referring to her as a nuisance, even though in reality she was genuinely in pain and scared). I also hated the lack of privacy (worse because it was a mixed sex ward), being poked and prodded, and having things done to me, by nurses and doctors, without any consideration shown for how I felt about it, my sense of boundaries, or even if it hurt (being turned over was indescribable agony due to my nerve damage - I know they had to do it, it was the lack of any empathy about it that upset me). Expectations about my physical capabilities were decided based on whatever suited them (assuming I couldn't do something without even asking if I could or letting me try, demanding I do something I couldn't and treating me like I was being awkward if I said so or expressed pain), rather than based on what I could actually do. It was just undignified and dehumanising.
For anyone going into hospital, I hope your nurses will be lovely, and considerate. It's just so you're aware, in case.
I took some books, but actually couldn't read them at first, the print looked blurry to me because of the drugs. So maybe take audio books/music? I also had some nice new nightwear my grandma sent me (appreciated the light dressing gown especially), as well as a big kitty-shaped cushion, which I loved. Not only was it reassuring and nice for getting comfier, but hugging it was helpful for breathing (which I struggled with at first, especially standing). Any big T-shirts etc. may be useful, once I started wearing the brace, it was easier for me to put a big T-shirt on over the top.
The food was actually not that bad, but I found it hard to eat much for a while. Was really grateful for my mum bringing stuff like fruit jellies, and ice cream, and also to have my own bottle of juice (which also restored some sense of being in control of the situation, as it meant I didn't need to ask, and wait).
Family members do need to be supportive. My (spoilt) younger sister was absolutely vile, couldn't stand that any attention was being paid to me. Not only was she a brat (and at 14, she should've known better), but she distracted my mum when I really needed her.