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Got family in the hospital? Deep breath--here's how not to freak out

It’s incredibly scary when someone you know really well is so sick, he or she has to be admitted to the hospital. Sometimes, it’s a totally normal, non-scary thing. Sometimes, it’s more serious. Whatever is happening, it’s best to stay as calm as you can. Here’s how.


Ask questions—don’t Google them

You can Google pretty much any medical condition and be told it could lead to cancer or some other life threatening condition. Chances are, that’s not the case for your family member, so before you get all search happy, consider asking questions of your family member’s doctor or nurse. They’ll know the specifics as they apply to your loved one, and can probably explain it so that it makes sense to you without scaring you unnecessarily.


Be helpful, not annoying

Yes, you want to make sure Mom is OK and your grandma is OK and everyone has everything they need. That’s super sweet. What you don’t need to do is pop the Q 10 times an hour or keep asking if anyone wants coffee or water. Once will do. Let them know you’re up for a walk or errand run if they need anything, and leave it at that, you sweet thing, you.


Call for support

To avoid stressing out the patient in question, try to save the tears or worried moments for outside the hospital room. If you need a hug or a shoulder to cry on, though, that’s absolutely OK—don’t try to bite it back or be brave. Tears are a great way to release pent up emotion and frustration at the situation. Tell Mom you need a good cry, or call a friend and see if she can come hang out.


Take your mind off things

Sometimes, you just need a brief escape. Trying to avoid reality is a bad thing, but getting a little respite is totally healthy and could be exactly what you need, especially if you’ve spent 24/7 lately in a waiting room. See if you can spend the night with a friend or simply go for a walk solo around the hospital, chill with your iPod in a courtyard or head to a nearby coffee shop or bookstore. Immerse yourself in the new surrounding and do what you need to do to forget about what’s going on with your loved one for a little while. Trust us, no one will think the less of you for it—or for smiling, laughing and having fun.


Have you ever had a family member be admitted to the hospital? How did you deal with it? Tell us in the comments!





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BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 4/6/2014 12:00:00 AM

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