Hospital Day Rules

Hospital Day Rules

{Photo caption: Julianne’s angel collection, which always accompanies her on overnights.}

On the day a mom with a sick kid either goes to or comes home from the hospital, you should not expect reasonable from her. Imagine her as glass — thin, worn, delicate as bone china. A little tap could send her to pieces.

Husbands, the best thing you can offer her, if you’re there when she walks in the door, is the opportunity to immediately get a shower and take a nap. This is the usually the first step to helping her regain her sanity.

Even if she arises showered and apparently refreshed, she should not be expected to cook or clean {unless, of course, she wants to}.

In fact, if you’re able to do a something special — cut a few flowers from the garden and put them in a vase on the kitchen table, or make her a fresh cup of coffee, she will be more grateful than you can ever imagine. A simple gesture like this could make the difference between her feeling fractured or healed, appreciated or emptied out.

Today is not a normal day and she is a fragile but empty vase, waiting to be filled with kind words, love, and gentleness. Rub her feet, massage her shoulders; ask her how she’s doing.

She will be filled and healed by you and, in turn, she will be able to help heal you and get your family up and running again.

Friends, neighbors, family, church family: kind, supportive words are good; prayers are golden. Even if you’re not sure what to say, or feel your words are trite, you can’t go wrong with these:

  • “I’m so sorry you have to go through this.”
  • “How can I help?”
  • “I’ll be praying for you.”
  • Or, my favorite: “Let me bring you dinner.”

If you’re able to follow up your promise to pray with a quick texted or emailed prayer, or a call within a few days, she will feel warmed, comforted.

Food and company matter. Stop by to chat and drop off some muffins or a casserole. Don’t assume she’s too busy to talk; she’s probably exhausted her husband’s and mom’s patience on certain topics and could use a fresh ear. Take time to talk, or better yet, listen — really listen.

On the other hand, here are a few things you shouldn’t do:

  • By all means, ask questions, but don’t question her decisions or actions {this will feel like an attack}.
  • Don’t assume she’s got it all under control just because she appears outwardly calm.
  • Don’t assume that it gets easier on the third (or tenth) hospital stay, because it really doesn’t.
  • And, most importantly, don’t focus so much on her sick kid that you forget her.


I wrote these “rules” in April, after my daughter’s first hospital stay in nearly a year. {She is going through a relapse of her autoimmune disease, Juvenile Dermatomyositis.}

We just returned from our third hospital overnight this past Friday/Saturday. I picked Julianne up from school {her last day}, and we headed straight to Children’s. We learned there that our rheumatologist believes the best plan of treatment involves a total of six overnights. {I had been under the mistaken impression we were doing three, and had thought we might be done.}

So, while Julianne’s inflammation markers have come down to the normal range, and she seems to be slowly but surely feeling more like herself, we have to be careful to slowly wean her from steroids and not withdraw treatment too quickly {and cause a relapse of the relapse}. That said, this post is not as belated as I thought, since we are only halfway through this intense phase of treatment and will be having at least three more hospital stays.

We have been blessed by the generosity and kindness of those around us over the past few months. Here are some of the bright spots in our lives since April:

  • My friend and yoga instructor Kate dropped off a book on the anti-inflammatory diet and gave Julianne and I a private yoga session, focusing on gentle moves to help her relax and to support immune health.
  • My friend Beth brought over a meal the same day she heard about Jules’ relapse. And she remains my go-to text friend who always responds with just the right words to encourage, empathize with, and support me.
  • My mom and her church family pray over us and for us, without ceasing.
  • My in-laws are always there to watch my other kids on hospital days.
  • My friend Alison made us a home-cooked meal and kept us company in the early days of Julianne’s relapse — the company was especially welcome since my husband travels so frequently and was gone that week.
  • Fellow blogger and online friend Laura and I have connected more deeply recently {though we knew each other before}, when we realized both our daughters have major health struggles. And, Laura’s daughter has become Julianne’s pen pal. The two girls have exchanged letters, little gifts, and encouragement.
  • Carol, one of the women at the Refine retreat I attended immediately before Jules’ relapse, messages me daily, checking in on both me and Julianne. She provides care, concern, prayer, and welcome doses of humour. {I am spelling humour with the “u” for her because she’s Canadian 😉 }
  • My sister and her daughters sent an awesome care package to their cousin Julianne.
  • My tribe over at also mailed an unexpected, goodie-filled package for both Jules and I just last week.

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  1. Love you, Elizabeth. I am so sorry that you have to go through this, and I am praying for you! What you’ve written is such a gift to anyone who cares about someone going through a difficult time.–thank you. XOXO
    Mandy recently posted..A Letter to My Preteen SelfMy Profile

    • Thank you, Mandy. I know I have so often been on the other end — knowing someone is hurting, but being unsure what they need, what they feel, what I can do. Now, I realize that the worst thing we can do is nothing — just being there for the person, even if it’s just listening or showing up with a cup of coffee or sending a quick encouraging text — can make a world of difference!

  2. Sometimes I wonder, as I feel kind of lost sometimes in what my God-sized dream really is, if God’s plan for my participation in the GSDT was for a new friendship between the girls, and us. God’s plans are so cool! 🙂


  1. […] the green to Children’s — brick and bright intermingled. It’s the opposite of my usual view, and so I snap it. It’s nice to be on this side, no monitor beeps, wires, IVs … just a […]

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