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How to survive your hospital stay

About the author: 

The following seven allies are your patient's package for reducing the chances of infections, complications, side effects and mistakes

The following seven allies are your patient's package for reducing the chances of infections, complications, side effects and mistakes. They also hasten recovery.

Control your Space. Try and find a window seat. Bring your own stage set pictures, postcards, posters. Ask your visitors to quietly put them up. Turn off the fluorescent lights, which can produce eyestrain and headaches. Seek natural ventilation and air ions.A Supportive Companion. Friend, colleague, family member make sure somebody is there. He or she can hear your grumbles, take your mind off your future, administer vitamins and medicines, get you special food, help you to wash, massage your feet and work with you on your breathing exercises. On no account leave your young children alone in hospital. There is no greater aid to your child's recovery than you.

Open Dialogue with your Hospital Staff. Insist in your pre hospital consultation, and in hospital itself: that you need full information on all aspects of your treatment, that it will aid your recovery, that you cannot give your consent without it, that you are capable of understanding the information if presented in plain English.

Use Relaxation and Imagery Techniques. Find out about (or find a therapist in ) basic relaxation techniques, or autogenic training. Once in a state of relaxation, many patients employ imagery, such as imagining their drugs are soldiers killing off cancer cells. Try to make tapes when you are strong to help you enter the state of passive concentration when you are weak.

Therapists in Hospital. Physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, art and music therapists, and social workers are a unique resource, particularly if they have learned special complementary methods to aid comfort and recovery, such as breathing, relaxation, massage, acupuncture or counselling.

Nutritious Food. A hospital is the very place where you should have the best meals of your life in order to heal. Refuse refined or processed foods and insist on protein foods, unrefined carbohydrates, fibre and vitamin foods, such as fruit and vegetables, and unsaturated fats. Have your friend import the food if it isn't available in hospital.

Vitamins. Extra vitamins have therapeutic effects in doses much too large to get in the modern diet. Vitamins and minerals can help to detoxify the body and clean it of drug residues and also make a dramatic difference on the capacities of the immune system. Vitamins C, E, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6 especially enhance wound healing and surgical recovery.


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