Getting well when you’re in the hospital can be challenging. Hospitalization can be a very stressful and challenging experience. As a physician, I’ve observed the disruption illness can bring to the lives of my patients. Often times patients don’t know what to do during the hospitalization, and are left with long intervals of time, often resulting in watching television in between hospital staff interactions, diagnostic tests and receiving visitors.
Here are a few tips that can help you to improve your hospital stay and recovery:
1. Decide you want to get well. This is very important. Most patients focus on not wanting to be sick, rather than getting well. This difference may seem subtle but it is very important. If you focus on your health, you are literally activating your cells and organs that will help your body to heal. Your intention to get well, assists your body in ways that modern medicine is finally beginning to acknowledge.
2. Ignore all dire predictions -Use them as a catalyst, as a challenge to overcome whatever disease you are facing. Despite the odds, others have lived and you can, too! I’ve witnessed many patients defy their doctor’s predictions. Unfortunately, doctors are trained not to give “false hope,” and often give patients dire predictions – that appear to be credible predictions based on statistics involving other patients. Of course such bleak predictions will have a very negative impact on recovery and health.
Many patients have proven to me over the years that we all possess the ability to survive, thrive and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Regardless of the diagnosis and prognosis you are facing, please know all is not lost. Men and women like you have faced the challenges of living with and overcoming serious and potentially fatal diseases. These experiences led me to believe that you, too, can get well, too!
Usually predictions are based on statistics that reflect the experience of other people. The will to live, the desire to get well, has a tremendous impact on our bodies and can mean the difference, literally between recovery and illness, health and disease and life and death. They can’t accurately predict how long you will live. Remember: all statistics reflect the experience of others and may not necessarily predict yours.
3. Explore you inner, secret thoughts and emotions. How do you feel about this experience called “disease”? Does it create fear, anxiety, denial, and constant thoughts? That’s normal. All of these emotions are a part of the disease process. You can work your way through all of them, with awareness and patience.
Pay attention to your feelings and emotions, honestly allow yourself to experience them. Sometimes you’re frightened, anxious, distressed. Also, lonely, pain, fatigues That’s very normal. Acknowledge them
4. Stay informed- Ask your doctor questions about your condition. Write them down, or designate a trusted family member and friend to be your advocate
5. Surround yourself with positive things. Turn off the news (any type, unless you just watch the weather)! Don’t watch violent, depressing television programs. Watch inspiring comedy and educational programs Use the resources that are available to you via the Internet, books, CDs, DVDs, and other formats.
6. Share your thoughts and feelings with a kind person, a good listening ear. It doesn’t matter who that is. A health professional, family member, spouse, friend or someone else can be a great well-being coach, a valuable asset.
7. Cultivate optimism. Medical research demonstrates optimists are healthier and recover faster than pessimists. Every crisis can be viewed as an opportunity. Your cup isn’t necessarily half empty, it’s half full. Face every crisis as an opportunity. Pessimism can be redirected.
8. Finds ways to relax. This is a very important thing to do. Most illnesses are stress related. When your body is relaxed it has the opportunity to regenerate and heal.