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Keeping up with The Cantelmo's: Hospital stays

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hospital stays

When Grace was a toddler, she started throwing up. She threw up all the time, rejected baby food and started losing weight. I went from doctor to doctor explaining what was going on. No one got it. My dad suggested a new doctor he really liked. The doctor looked at Grace and told me that Grace had failure to thrive. The doctor immediately sent us over to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

That is where it started. We had a season of many hospital stays. It was scary because we didn’t know what was causing her to not thrive. After a LONG stay in the hospital and lots of tests. We found out she had acid reflux. We were sent home with a feeding tube and a referral to food therapy.

Soon, Grace got pneumonia. She got it often. Every time she got pneumonia, we were admitted to the hospital. It was exhausting. It was hard on Grace and me.
I used to think being a single mom and dealing with a little one was challenging. But now I realize being a momma of three and dealing with a little one in the hospital is a juggling act! Thankfully we have three sets of grandparents that have helped a ton. I also have an amazing husband by my side.
I believe that spending time in the hospital when your little one is sick is so draining, emotionally exhausting and scary. Thankfully we knew what Luke had. It was croup. A bad case of it (the doctor said it was the worst he had seen in a long time) but he was in good hands. We just feel like it's never ending. 
When I spend time in the hospital with a sick little one. I always think about the moms and dads that spend much more time in the hospital than I have. The families that have kids with heart problems, cancer, chronic illnesses, babies in the NICU, and many more illnesses. It breaks my heart. It makes me thankful for healthy kids but heartbroken for the families that are dealing with sick little ones.

If you have spent a fair amount of time in the hospital, you know just how draining it is. You’re worried, scared, exhausted, frustrated, and scattered. You feel isolated, alone, and helpless. You don’t want people to feel bad for you because you’re baby is suffering, but at the same time you need someone to sympathize with you and understand the pain you’re going through. It’s so hard.


Source: via Jenna on Pinterest

I feel bad that I don't do more for people whose children are in the hospital for LONG periods of time. Especially the families that have multiple kids and have to take shifts with their husband so all their kids are cared for. I want to help out more but I don’t know how. For me, when I am in the hospital with my little one I distance myself from others because I am just not in the mood to talk a whole lot (rare for me, I know). I just want to be in my own little world. It’s the way I cope and not have a huge breakdown in front of everyone.
Source: via Jenna on Pinterest

So, if you have a little one that has spent a LONG period of time in the hospital or is currently in the hospital on and off. Can you share with me what are the most helpful things people have done for you or do for you while you’re in the hospital? Or what do you wish people did for you while your little one was in the hospital? Meals? Gift cards? Clean your house? Laundry? Child care? Errands? 

Matthew 25:35-40
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

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At December 2, 2011 at 5:16 AM , Blogger Sarah {the fontenot four} said...

Oh my gosh. I felt like I could have written this post. This really spoke to me this morning. Peyton (5 and a half) is special needs and has been chronically ill all her life. We dealt with failure to thrive and massive vomiting for a while. Unfortunately, she doesn't have the ability to swallow - she aspirates everything. She wound up having a major surgery to repair the reflux. It has since failed and she's too chronically ill right now to have it re-done. you know that even as a parent who spends 24/7 in the hospital with Peyton when she's ill (my husband takes care of Moira while I'm with Peyton...I don't even leave the hospital room the entire stay!!), my heart STILL breaks for the families with chronically ill children. It's almost as if I deny the fact that my own child is as well. But if I do happen to get out of the room (when someone is putting on a free family dinner), I see moms who are tired, frustrated, scared, and exhausted from having spent far longer in the hospital that I ever have and it breaks my heart. For us, my husband works 2 jobs out of financial necessity. He can't work his second job when Peyton's in the hospital, leaving us even more financially strapped in the couple weeks following a stay. He has to take care of our other child. Help with her would be so appreciated - give her a break from her own worry over her sister...allow Ron to do what he needs to do. Gift cards for meals would be great. Hospitalizations inevitably happen when we're least financially able to pay for all those cafeteria meals! If someone gave us gift cards to use for meals during the stay or even when we got home, that would make a world of difference. Bringing a meal, especially right after coming home - that would be fantastic. The last thing on my mind when I get home with Peyton is having to make a meal! Offering to sit with the child when they get home so mom can SLEEP! Now that would be a luxury! I always feel bad and hate asking for things that I'd need when we're in this situation. I know people want to help, but it makes me feel awkward. That said...if I could get over that, if someone offered to do laundry or tidy up the house. Oh my gosh. That would be a Godsend! But I'd never personally ask for that. I guess I feel like I should just be able to do it all or something. Prayers, a visit to the hospital, a gift card, taking a meal up to the hospital for the parent(s), etc. All of those are greatly appreciated. A simple visit would be amazing. I spend countless hours at the hospital seeing no one but the hospital staff all day and then my husband and other daughter very briefly in the evening. It's very isolating. Ok...that's my dissertation on how things could be improved when we're having a hospital stay for our chronically ill child. I hope that helps!

At December 2, 2011 at 6:32 AM , Blogger Amanda said...

After having our son in the hospital for four months after he was born and then on and off since I agree that having company is one of the nicest things to have. Also, gas cards or parking coupons if the hospital doesn't have free parking (ours didn't)are EXTREMELY helpful. There are two housing buildings near our hospital that you can stay in if you live a greater distance away and when a family or company would provide dinner for the whole house it was wonderful. No hospital food for dinner! Those are just a few ways. :)

Once my son made it home we struggled with pnemonia or infection every 3 weeks or so. Not fun, so I know what you went through!

At December 2, 2011 at 8:21 AM , Blogger Joan said...

This is an awesome are an amazing person :)

I spent the first 9 days of my sons life in the NICU with him, and while that's not nearly as long as many people are there for, it still felt like forever. And no one warns you that you may be leaving the hospital without your baby, and that's SO HARD.

I think while I was there, I would have really enjoyed having someone to talk to during those long boring nights while Porter was sleeping and I couldn't. It was so dark and lonely at night time...having a girlfriend that knew what I was going through (to her own extent anyways) would have been so comforting...

At December 2, 2011 at 6:29 PM , Blogger Andy and Kiara said...

What a great post, Melanie. I have only spent shorter times in the hospital with two different kids, our longest being about 5 - 6 days. I also spent a week in the hospital during a 4-month stint on bed rest while pregnant.

Melanie - I can completely relate to your comment about being in my own world while there. I was okay with a couple short visits from close family, but other than that I usually refused visits. I was just tired and had a lot on my mind. I guess everyone has their own style of dealing with a crisis hospital stay. I'm pretty sure if I was there longer, I'd want more visitors, though. :)

As a bigger family, it's definitely hard to balance it all during that time. I really appreciated friends and family taking meals to my husband and kids, or babysitting for a couple hours so he could come and visit. That was the best!


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