How to Survive Hospital Bed Rest

Encouragement chain, 34 days to go 

I'm clearly the expert on how to survive hospital bed rest with all two weeks of experience. However, Kylie is correct in saying many of the posts out there aren't terribly good. So, here's my attempt at sucking less than the other blogs.

Pull the stick out.
No one wants to be here. None of us planned on being here. We are stuck in lumpy beds with crappy hospital food and daytime television. I am bombarded with tubes, straps, pills and swabs every 3 hours. I am being watched like a hawk. But you know what helps? A good attitude. There is absolutely nothing I can do about being here. I am here for the long haul, as are a lot of these beached whales women, so I'm making the most of it.

I have really great nurses who actually enjoy coming to see me because I pulled the stick out and decided to be pleasant. The boys are the most stressful fetuses to get on the monitors, which means that my poor nurses have to sit here for at least 30 minutes before we are all hooked up & being monitored. Many have thanked me for being a trooper because they have lots of patients who are mean and get mad. Get over it! You're stuck here all day, and it's your fetus that is already creating problems and is still on the inside.

Laugh it up.
So much of this is disgusting. So disgusting. I have probably apologized to nearly every nurse that has worked with me for the disgusting things they have to do and see. "When was your last bowel movement?" has become my favorite question of the day. One of these days, I will work up the courage to say, "This morning! When was yours?" We talk about body fluids and mucus and blood and leakage. I mean, di-freaking-sgusting. The best way to deal is to just laugh about it. Make light of the gross and just roll with it. Being happy and pleasant and enjoyable to be around makes everyone happier. Be the patient that the nurses enjoy. There will always be the girl who is a crab - don't be her, because the patients talk about you and so do the nurses. Be the one who makes them laugh.

Cry it out.
For the majority of your hospital stay, be fun and enjoyable. However, if you need to have a good, hard sob, do it. Turn on Steel Magnolias and let the river flow. I was teary many nights when my friends and family would leave, but it was short-lived. Ten days into my stay, I hit my wall. Ugly crying into the phone, while my Mom tried to calm me down. It's hard to be here. It's hard to watch your family leave. And it's hard to be stuck here with no end in sight. So, it's ok to be hysterical. Just don't be the girl who lives there.

I'm sure some of the nurses think I'm nuts. My room is the most decked out on the floor. My favorite part is the banner of photos of my myself throughout the pregnancy, which I refer to as my "Narcissist Banner" every time a new nurse looks at it. I have balloons, flowers, pictures, and banners hanging on the walls to make it feel more homey. Over the top? Yes. Necessary? No. Cheerful? Yes. Worth it? Yes. You're stuck here for weeks on end - make the best of it.

Narcissist banner.

I am very lucky to be semi-close to home. Many of the women on my floor are from neighboring states and aren't as fortunate as I am to have company. I have literally had friends and/or family here every single day of my stay. When people ask me what I want or need most, my response is always company. I have people I've never even met before popping in to see me, who just want to help make my day a little more pleasant. Seeing people (for Type A extroverts, like myself) help the days not drag so slowly. Tell people what you need. They want to help. If you just want them to stop by and play Scrabble with you, tell them.

Don't be ugly.
My husband was slightly offended that he has seen me with more makeup on since I've been here than I had been wearing pre-prison sentence. My argument is that it makes me feel better. Deep.

It's true though. After beached whale society water immersion therapy, I take a shower, dry my hair, style it and put some makeup on. Is it necessary? Of course not. Does it make me feel like I'm doing something with my day? Yes. If you are schlepping around the hospital like the girl from the ring, your days will be longer and crankier. If you put a little pep in your step on purpose, you will feel better.

Hospital bed rest sucks. There is no getting around it, but like every situation in life, you have to choose to make the best of it. Make friends with your nurses because they want to like you, but they can't if you're a jerk. Try out the old lady activities that the hospital offers. You might enjoy it, and it might make you less of a crab. And if you need a visitor, I'll come sit with you. I can bring you junk food and/or Starbucks, and I will lose terribly to you if we play Scrabble. Win/win for you.

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1 comment

  1. an economist wrote a book called 'expecting better' in which she calls bed rest a bad solution. it is based on evidence and research that shows that bed rest doesn't help in any situation.

    this was confirmed to me by the head of san francisco perinatal when i asked about bed rest. he stated, "the data just isn't there."

    just something to think about, as i think a lot of doctors put people on bed rest unnecessarily.


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