How to Cope with Hospital Anxiety (For Kids and Adults)

Living with a disability comes with several constants. Hospital stays and dr.’s visits are two of these constants. Only those of us that have gone through it understand the frustration of traveling several hours for a once a year check up, that lasts all of 10 minutes. My mom tried to make these visits more enjoyable by bringing my grandparents along. Afterwards we’d go out for ice cream. Because these trips were so far out-of-town, I’d get the day off school. No school, ice cream and grandparents was a pretty good trade in exchange for a little X-ray or cat scan.

However, hospitals can be scary places, especially if you are a kid that needs surgery. So today on the blog, I thought I’d give you my tips for helping kids (and adults) go through a hospital stay. 

1. Make it Fun: A doctor’s appointment that includes blood draws and shots can be stressful. That’s why making it as fun as possible can alleviate your child’s stress. Take a favorite relative or friend with you. When I was a kid my grandparents would accompany my mom and I on these trips. My grandma also packed a bag of fun things for me to do in the car. A deck of cards, fake jewelry to play dress up, and other little trinkets helped to brighten the day and pass the time in the car and waiting room.

2. Write down a favorite Bible verse or inspirational quote and bring it with you into the operating room: For small children, consider a favorite stuffed animal. Of course these will be removed once you are asleep, but it’ll help with anxiety before you go under. My go to verse has been Ps. 56:3-4: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise- in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” 

3. Search the hospital for the HOTTEST anesthesiologist and see if they are scheduled for your surgery: Ok, this one is a bit out there. But I included it because I remember the last time I had surgery, in high school, many MANY years before I met my husband, I had an anesthesiologist that was very easy on the eyes. This did make surgery a bit more bearable.

These next tips are things to consider post operation: 

4. When they change the medicine in your IV, it can sting something awful: Ringing the nurse and asking for a warm or cool compress can give much-needed relief. 

5. Healing can suck when you are in the hospital: One thing that my grandma did was make sure I had some of her “medicine” to make me feel better. After surgery, when I was back in my room, every hour I’d reach into this box that my grandma had brought with her. Inside were small gifts to help me pass the time. Cross word puzzle books, coloring books, a container of bubbles…ect…These can be small, inexpensive gifts but will help make any kid feel better faster.

If you are facing a surgery or know of someone who is, feel free to pass this list along to them. Remember you are not alone.



Cartoon depicting the importance of teamwork appears courtesy of Pinterest