Since we moved into our new place, we’ve been in the hospital twice as Ruth was admitted for various facial and head injuries, but that’s a story for another day. This is not a piece that we’d have hoped to write but thought that it may be useful for some of you who want to hope for the best but expect the worst. So here’s our hospital checklist for your child’s unwanted emergency. Even if you don’t manage to grab everything the first time round, you can refer to this list when grabbing things from home when you catch a break from the hospital.
#1 Portable Charger / Charger Head + Wire
When we first went to the A&E, I had 57% of battery left and no portable charger, no charger head and wire. On top of the hospital only permitting 1 parent to accompany the baby/toddler, I was stuck with nothing else but my phone to comfort my child who was in pain. Further, when the medical professionals are subjecting your child to all sorts of medical examinations and ask you to distract her with your phone, you comply. But don’t forget, this phone is also your lifeline to your worried husband and family. Long story short, I managed to text my husband our ward details right before my phone ran out of battery. It was a long and challenging afternoon.
The second time round, I grabbed two portable chargers. They were a lifesaver.
#2 Your child’s Birth Certificate and Health Booklet
When you’re registering your child at the A&E, this is the first thing that they ask to see. Of course, we didn’t have it on hand the first time because we left in a rush. Thankfully, my husband had forwarded a copy to our insurance agent and it was available on my phone. The second time, we left for the hospital in an ambulance and again, this was not something that was on the top of our heads. Again, I relied on the same digital copy of Ruth’s birth certificate. So if you haven’t already, make sure that you have a digital copy of the birth certificate on your phone. It’ll also help if you haven’t remembered your child’s birth certificate number by heart.
#3 Call your insurance agent
The minute the accident happened, we texted our insurance agent to find out about the extent of insurance coverage we had for admission. This helped us to be aware of the types of medical treatment that we could opt for (at little cost to us) so that we could make the necessary choices for our little girl’s treatment. Our insurance agent, Niki, was also able to guide us on how to make claims for our hospital expenses.
#4 Grab diapers, wet wipes and simple toys
Whilst you can grab the first two items from the nurses, sometimes it’s a lot quicker to have these on hand if you need a quick change and are still in the waiting room. Also, if you’re warded, nurses may take some time to address your requests (since they have other matters to attend to) and if your child needs a quick diaper change, he/she just needs it. If you’re able to, grab along some simple toys so you can entertain your child whilst you are waiting to see the doctors or be admitted. Having some toys on hand also helped to distract Ruth from her hunger whilst waiting for the operating theatre to be available for surgery.
#5 Bring snacks and milk, but don’t feed them to your child
Unless you are very sure that your child doesn’t need surgery, go ahead and feed those snacks and drinks to your toddler. But for us, we had to operate both times and hence needed Ruth to fast. Yes, fast from both water and food. It was a terrible experience trying to soothe a child who was in pain, traumatised by all the medical examinations and hungry/thirsty. But having these snacks and milk on hand will definitely help post-surgery. And to be prepared, make sure that you record down your child’s last meal/drink so that you can update the nurses accordingly.
#6 Bring snacks for yourself
Depending on the ward you’re in, you may not have the opportunity to grab any food for yourself until you get the chance to. It also doesn’t help that only one caregiver is allowed per child. So do yourself a favour and throw in a couple of snacks to tide you through the waiting game, it’ll help.