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How to Survive Hospital

A friend suggested a great way to survive a hospital stay.

He simply kept a journal. That’s right. Turn your stay into a novel, with the characters being everyone who walks into your room.

Whenever someone comes into your room, be it the janitor, doctor, candy striper, nurse, TV repairman or the food service person, introduce yourself and ask his/her name and write it down. That simple act will get their attention.

Once they realize you know them by name, and you address them by name, there is something that clicks inside the brain of people in the service industry. (And these people ARE there to serve you.) Maybe what clicks is a concern over being held accountable. Whatever it is, you want all of them to be accountable and responsible for their actions around you. So, if that’s the outcome you want, start keeping that journal.

If anyone asks, “Why do you want my name?”, don’t let them put you on the defensive about a simple act of keeping track of what’s going on in your life. But, at the same time, you don’t want to put them on the defensive. You can treat it very lightly and say, “It’s more entertaining than watching TV.” Or, “I love meeting new people and making friends.” You could joke that you like to keep busy or you love to write in your diary. Or you could simply say that you want to keep track of your hospital stay.

Of course, you will also want to keep a record of everything that goes into your body. If it takes a few seconds for the nurse to read you what your prescribed drugs are, don’t be rushed. It’s their job to take care of you, and if they give you the wrong pills, then they are not doing the job. Nurses are supposed to check your name on your hospital armband every time they give you a drug, to make sure it’s actually for you. So, to encourage that action, hold out your arm to help them remember to do the job properly.

If you are unconscious or unable to keep a journal, chances are you will have friends or family watching over you. Then, it’s their job to keep your journal for you. If everyone journalled their hospital stay, hospital care would improve dramatically. Try it and see!