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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Your Child in the Hospital by Nancy Keene

I am the parent of a childhood cancer survivor and a physician.  I have logged many an hour in the hospital both as a professional and as a parent.  You would think that with all that schooling and on the job experience that being a parent of a hospitalized child would be a relative cake walk compared to the hospital naive adult.  It turns out that is basically untrue.  The only thing that being a doctor helps with is understanding the lingo and knowing your way to the cafeteria.  The physical terrain is entirely familiar, but the emotional terrain is new, scary, and filled with land mines.

That is where this book comes in.  It calmly, carefully, and lovingly takes parents through the entire experience of having a child in the hospital.  There is some excellent and highly reproduced research that shows that when under stress patients only take in about 10% of what is said to them.  Add the stress of a child being ill enough to require round the clock monitoring and having to juggle caring for siblings and what to do about work, and it is not hard to feel completely out of control.  When my son was first diagnosed I laughed out loud when someone told me to take it one day at a time. I could not for the life of me manage more than 15 minutes at a time.  I would spend 15 minutes with him, 15 minutes walking, and 15 minutes crying.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  It was a week before I could manage anything better than that.

This book can save your sanity.  It helps with every facet of the hospital experience.  It is readable.  The advice is practical, and it comes from parents who have been there.  This is wisdom that health care professionals lack, but every parent of a hospitalized child needs.  It tells you how to get through it and how to make it bearable.  It will brighten your day when you didn't think that was possible.  

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