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A dear friend of mine recently asked me for help. We share many things in common, including Chronic Pain. She recently had a CT myelogram and was having complications from it. She needed to go back in for another procedure. It was in the outpatient section of the hospital and was set to be around a 2 hour procedure. As everyone with chronic illness knows, we should always estimate for at least double the time. How can we prep to make sure that we’re also taking care of our own needs when we’re helping someone else in this situation?

My friend asked me for help because she needed a “driver” and probably some moral support. I didn’t have to work that day and I knew that I could hold off on some of the other things that I had planned on doing. So I agreed. I feel like I fell short providing moral support. Most likely because I wound up hungry, in pain and having some triggers. After the fact, I thought about how I can prepare better for the next time I am in the hospital with a friend or family member.

Here are 5 things I came up with:

Waiting room
Waiting Room 3
I don’t need to explain the experience of a waiting room to Pain Campers. Things that make it easier: sit next to a window; find a supportive chair; bring reading material; headphones for your music. I also make sure I have a fully charged phone (make sure your friend has theirs for updates).
Roam the halls
12/365 Hospital Hallway
On the way into the hospital, make sure you check out signs for the cafeteria and cool areas like an arboretum or health library. When you need to move around, go explore the gift shop, cafeteria or different wings. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the hospital if it is new to you (for future reference.).
Healthy snack
Healthy snacks on the road
Low blood sugar can make any Pain Camper unhappy. Make sure you bring healthy snack options so you’re not desperate and end up eating junk food from the snack machines (which will only cause more inflammation). Protein (nuts & seeds) and veggies in a BPA free container are a great option.
Meditation and relaxation
Meditation Garden, aka home for geese
It is quite possible the hospital has a meditation room, chapel or garden. It is important that you bring things with so that you’re comfortable as well. Try rubbing a dab of essential oil under your nose for a calming effect while you focus on deep breathing. Download an app on your phone so you can listen to a guided meditation or some nature sounds. Being comfortable and at peace is important in management of your own pain.
Trigger awareness
I hear you're feeling down, I can easy your pain...
Being in a hospital, even if it isn’t for yourself, can be a trigger. It can be a trigger for memories, emotions, thoughts and even pain. Awareness of triggers and your own reactions are important because if you’re aware of them, then you can reach for your Chronic Pain Toolkit Tools before you start to downward spiral.

Pain Camp is a safe place to share your thoughts, experience, strength and hope. What are some things that you do to prep for hospital and doctor’s office visits?

Photo credits: gingrpotamus, thehumanzoom, VeronicaMade, tjstaab, McStefania, Dave Baker on flickr.com

 

 

 

 

 

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