1) There are things you do as a hospital mum that at one point in life would have seemed borderline insane, but now they’re just one situation wrapped up in an otherwise chaotic life. Hospital rooms don’t give much privacy and with the continual influx of nurses, doctors, specialists and therapists, without even the decency of a knock they all become quite literally part of the furniture. That’s why a parent would surely be forgiven for getting changed in front of said specialist as he explains the child’s prognosis and surely they would be equally excused for not realising this happened for some hours later. In actual fact I bet these professionals are used to it, yep that’s it, it happens ALL the time. There’s no way he went home and said “you’ll never guess what happened today…”
2) Time in hospital seems to be so drawn out. 24hrs can feel like a week and 4 weeks definitely feels more like 6 months. There is hours of boredom and countless moments of scrolling through social media news feeds and the over scrutinisation of each post that gets your attention. There’s none more annoying than someone complaining about a trivial matter that’s really not worth talking about let alone posting publicly. You know the ones with the sad face ☹️ and a hashtag of FML. Upon closer inspection through the comments you realise they didn’t get the Ronan Keating tickets they wanted or the Kookaburra outside their window woke them up at 5am, in an extreme case both…oh no, it’s a wonder they can continue with life at all. This is all while your child’s life hangs in the balance! Yep #FML, sucks to be them cos they just earned themselves a big fat ‘unfriend’ click! Later you ponder if you were a bit harsh but quickly realise their attention seeking ways had it coming for some time and don’t give it another thought.
3) Against our will we now have a head full of acronyms and medical terms that are recognised only by medical professionals and our sisterhood of hospital mums SATS, ASD, VSD, CRP, AGB, bid, BP, BR, CBC, COPD, ECG, ENT, FUO, Hb, O2, OTC, RBC, WBC and that’s just to mention a few! We can hold a conversation with the most intellectual of hospital staff even if we need to google 80% of the conversation after they leave. Smile and wave girls, smile and wave.
4) We are on first name basis with emergency staff and when they see us coming we are greeted with a fast track through triage. They know our concerns are valid and they act accordingly, they know how quickly things get serious and they leave nothing to chance. It’s like visiting an old friend, they’ve seen us at our most vulnerable, they’ve shared in our tears and validated our fears. On departure we joke and say “see you next time” but secretly we hope we’ll never see each other again. If only that could be!
5) There is no amount of credit that can keep up with our online shopping habit. That’s an exaggeration, but you get the picture! Sure some of us are worse at this than others. It would actually make a great reality TV show, “the online habit of hospital mums” I know one mum who racked up a whopping $13,000 credit card debt in 2 months (cracking effort I must say), others who have purchased nappy bags for every day of the week. My misdemeanour; shoes, kids shoes, shoes for me, shoes that don’t fit, shoes that will fit at some point, shoes that get delivered to the wrong address!
People seem to think hospital mums have some kind of super strength, we don’t, coping is the only option! It helps no one if I lose my shit. We miss our husbands, we miss our kids, we hate hospitals and love them all at once. We would trade places for the mundane of house work and cooking dinner for a fussy toddler in an instant. I know mums who have spent years in and out of hospital, I know one mum who spent 3 years in hospital. I know mums who have entered a hospital with their child and then gone home without them. I know mums who know that day will come for them, they live in the now and face each stay head on!
There’s one thing that flows through all these mums and thats a good attitude, it’s because of you I face each stay with humour, composure and a knowledge I can see this one out too. Kudos to all of you out there who have waved the hospital flag for far too long! Hang in there, you’ll be home soon.