As the mom to a medically complex little boy, we spend a lot of time at the hospital. In his short eighteen months of life, we’ve clocked twelve different hospital stays. Some of these are long and others only last a few days. All of them are exhausting and difficult.
With each hospital stay comes another round of, “How can I help?” messages. At the beginning of this journey, I was stubborn. I didn’t want to appear like I couldn’t handle it, so I didn’t ask for help. A year and a half later, I know I would not be able to survive this life without leaning on my family and community. It’s been a really freeing lesson to learn. Leaning on community has shown me that there is still a lot of beauty in this world.
Which brings me back to the question, “How can I help?” As the mom to a chronically ill child, this is what I really need.
1. Things to make a hospital stay a little more comfortable
Fuzzy socks – bonus if they have the grippies on the bottom!
Something to keep my hands busy: cards, crocheting or knitting supplies, a coloring book, etc.
Toiletries – we probably remembers the basics like toothpaste and deodorant, but there is nothing more comforting then sweet smelling lotion or shampoo when all you have smells like antiseptic.
Things to help us sleep: Chamomile tea, face masks, white noise machines, etc.
2. Things to make a hospital stay a little easier
Gift cards to food delivery places or nearby fast food – pro tip: UberEats has gift cards!
Snacks – either to indulge a sweet tooth or satisfy a craving for something a little healthier than vending machine food.
Something to remind us of home – a photo, a plant, a warm blanket.
Coffee – all the coffee.
3. Things to make coming home a little less stressful
An offer to head over and straighten up the house before we are discharged.
A drop off of prepared food or groceries.
Wine…or more coffee, or Diet Coke, or whatever the family enjoys.
4. Things to remind us that you’re here for us, even if we aren’t up for visitors yet
Something as simple as a text message, a handwritten note, or an email mean the world to us. Hospital stays are trying and often times, we aren’t up for visitors, but we need to remember that there are others out there who see us and are thinking of us.
No matter the gesture, no matter how big or small, parents of sick kids just want to know they are not alone.