This last week was one in which I had never experienced such pain before. I was taken to the ER for shortness of breath and pain on my left side. Our little guy was petrified. He didn’t want to leave my side even when they did the EKG and started to run an IV into my arm. Unfortunately, we didn’t have anywhere to send him and so he stayed while all this occurred.
Thankfully, I only have pneumonia but I think it has traumatized him. Even though several of our church friends were able to assist in watching him periodically during my time in the hospital, he was still there for a majority of the procedures in the ER. After going through this, I discovered that there were things we could have done and did do to help him through a hospital visit.
Here is a basic guide to help you and your special needs child when visiting relatives or going with one of you to the ER. Hopefully it will help to make things a little less traumatic for your child.
1. Prepare a contingency plan
- A. Have a person who will be your designated contact if you have to go to the hospital or ER for a procedure. Make sure they are able to drive your child offsite, if necessary, or watch them for extended periods of time.
- B. Have prepared an emergency bag of essentials for your child that can be grabbed on your way out the door or stored in your car.
- C. Have a bag of stuff for them to do while they are waiting at the hospital. Paper, crayons, electronic toys, etc. The best kind are the scratch coloring because you don’t have any crayons that melt in the hot car and it is easily scratched off with various utensils.
2. Arrange for your child to be out of the room when you have to have blood drawn, IVs inserted or vitals taken. It’s traumatic to see a parent or a close relative poked, prodded and in pain.
3. If your child is visiting for an extended time, have someone designated to walk them around the hospital to get exercise. It also allows time for you to have other procedures done. It’s very helpful to both of you!
4. If you can talk them through the issues, then they will be more willing to help or do whatever they can. They just want to be helpful and near to you. It’s frightening to see a parent in the hospital and they just need constant reassurance.
These are only some basic suggestions, but very helpful and I know that sometimes we can’t always protect our children as we want. Hopefully this will make it a little easier to plan for this in case it ever happens.