So here you are, in your hospital room, your new home for the next few days. Lets take a tour, shall we?
The hospital bed is a wonderful thing. I find it easier to get comfortable using all the buttons to get into position. I usually ask for an extra blanket or two and roll them up to prop myself, if it helps. Try out different things until you find what works for you. Changing position often is actually better for you anyway.
Most of us will be sharing a room, as private rooms are both expensive and in short supply. They are usually reserved for those who really need them. At my local hospital, it is usually dementia patients who wake up screaming because they are scared and confused. They are in private rooms so they don’t disturb everyone else.
This can be both blessing and curse. If you feel well, it can give you company to visit with, someone to commiserate with over the food. But it can be a nuisance sometimes, like sitting next to a friendly chatterbox on the plane when you just want to read your book. Set boundaries as often as you need to. Keep the curtain pulled part way, if necessary. If you are the chatterbox, be respectful of other people’s healing needs.
Above all be considerate. You are sharing your space with other people who are in as much need as you, and it will be a long stay if you are not thoughtful of each other.
When I was a kid, I roomed with 4 other girls and one of them was awful. She had never been through it before, so we tried to be patient. However, the TV was mounted between her bed and mine, so every time her mother pulled her curtain the 3 girls on the other side of the room couldn’t see a thing. There was very little else to do when you are stuck in bed. Finally, my mother had to take hers aside and fill her in on hospital etiquette. That, yes she was entitled to sleep, but no, she was not entitled to keep her curtain pulled over the TV 24 hours a day.
I was reminded of this recently, when my roommate asked if I could sleep with the blinds up. I had the bed near the window, and she got depressed if she couldn’t see out. So, I pulled my curtain a couple of feet, so that my face was blocked from view, but she could see; I put on an eye mask and could sleep all day while she looked out the window. Small inconvenience for me, big difference for her. Same with the TV, we left it on all day and I lent her earphones to listen.
You probably have a locker that you may not be able to reach, depending on whether you are mobile. A nightstand with two or three drawers for your stuff and a rolling tray. That’s it. You may be here a day or a week, but you will have to make do.
Many are inclined to fill the chairs, the window ledges and any other bare surfaces with their stuff, but I would advise against it. At best people will think you are rude and inconsiderate, at worst your stuff may be taken away if it interferes too much.
Think about where you put stuff. I can never reach the bottom drawer of my stand, the locker or the bathroom, so I have always had to make do with my top two drawers. It has always been enough for me if I planned well. Guests could always grab me stuff from my bottom drawer or locker if I really needed it, so I planned accordingly.
When I had my second hip replacement, the first was still fresh enough in mind for me to plan perfectly. I had a duffel bag with three plastic bags in it, one for each drawer of my nightstand. My roommates jaw dropped as John pulled out a bag labeled TOP and emptied it into my top drawer and so on. The duffel with my clothes went in my locker for the next day and we were done. I just smiled at her and said “we’re professionals”.