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I have a missed call? How did this just happen? I have had my phone on me since Susan sent her last text. Susan is my best friend. Her message was brief, to the point. Maybe a little “to the point” and void of details, which is never a good sign.
She wrote “In ambulance, here we go again. It is bad!”
Susan has been on an emotional rollercoaster ride for years now with her only daughter’s medical complexities. It seems as though she has spent more time IN the hospital than out of it.Tomorrow, after they have become settled and stabilized, I will visit her in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) and bring my infamous sweet and thoughtful care packages. I know exactly what she needs in her care package.
Like I said, we have been doing this for several years now. I always pack two extra care packages for her to give to fellow medical moms after I leave. They become her “peace offering” or ice breaker to meet families around the PICU, since she will probably be there for an extended period of time – again.
I get ready to call her back, as I head out the door to go to Walmart. The store is down the street and they have everything I need for my most thoughtful sanity-saving care packages. Over the years, I have perfected putting together these care packages. I know Susan has come to “expect” my visits as a welcomed break from everything medical. Susan and her fellow medical moms truly need and deserve every little breather they can take.
The 10 items to put in the most thoughtful and sweet care package:
- Betty Crocker™ Soft Baked Bars! You can find the Betty Crocker™ Soft Baked Bars in the cereal and bar aisle at Walmart. The Sweet Rewards is the perfect snack-sized sweet treat. It is a pleasant surprise after having endured a hospital-issued meal or two.
- Hand sanitizer! Hospitals, although certain areas are “sterile” are crawling with germs. A good hand washing routine is necessary to keep the patients from catching various viruses and infections. The hand sanitizer is a MUST HAVE.
- Note book! Medical moms are bombarded with information throughout the day, especially during “rounds” when the doctors discuss the admitted patients. Having a notebook to write down new medical terms, test results, measurements, questions and thoughts will help to keep an already stressed parent from being overloaded.
- Pen! Without a pen, the notebook is rather useless!
- Comfy socks! Try sitting in an uncomfortable chair with your shoes on for 12-18 hours a day. A pair of warm comfy socks will allow the tired mom to at least curl up in the chair and attempt to find a comfortable position.
- Book to be read aloud to the child! Everyone loves to be read to, especially children. A good collection of fairy tales is perfect for children of all ages. The medical professionals encourage families to talk and sing to children who are unconscious or in a coma, which makes story telling the perfect pastime for parents who sit bedside for days on end.
- Magazines and other easy reading material for the parents! When it is time for the parents to “enjoy” some quiet time, don’t expect them to be able to read and comprehend heavy literature or in-depth suspense thrillers. Magazines make a great distraction for as long as your brain needs a break, whether it is for 5 minutes of 5 hours.
- Chapstick! The air in the hospital is cold and dry. After a few days skin and lips start to feel dry and dull. A chapstick is something most medical moms forget to grab as they are heading out the door to follow an ambulance.
- Mints or gum! Sitting for hours and days, drinking coffee, tea and soda is sure to leave your breath a little stale. Grabbing a quick piece of gum will give the mom confidence as she is about to talk to doctors and nurses about her child’s care and test results.
- Gas gift card! This is an item most people won’t think to include, unless you have been in the situation. Even if one parent stays with the child full time, the other parent and family members will probably come to visit frequently during long hospital stays. Unfortunately good hospitals can’t always be found in your backyard, so families find themselves trekking countless miles to keep their family together as often as possible.
As I leave Walmart and head to the hospital I picture Susan enjoying her Betty Croker Soft Baked Bars. I hope she can escape the beeping machines, bright lights and smell of sterilizing cleaners for as long as it takes her to enjoy one of the sweet Betty Crocker Soft Baked Bars. The bars are individually wrapped and just perfect for her to grab before she goes for a walk around the hospital grounds. She has become all too familiar with her surroundings there.
As you can tell, the 10 most thoughtful items to put in a care package for families in the hospital are meant to bring comfort and convenience to the family. A quick escape from the situation and helping to keep the worried mind organized and in the moment.
Next time you are at Walmart picking up a box of Betty Crocker Soft Baked bars, I challenge you to put together a thoughtful care package to a family with a sick child – and then deliver it to your local hospital. You will, without a doubt, warm someone’s heart – including your own.