One of the assignments in the Writing101 class from WordPress was to write a list. While I did that assignment already, I have always been a big list-maker, so here is another list.
In a few days, my wife will be having open-heart surgery at St. Thomas West Hospital in Nashville. Last week, we traveled there for some of the preliminaries. This list is based on that trip.
20 Things I Learned from My Recent Trip to Nashville
- McKay’s used book store rocks! But it’s so huge you need hours and hours to explore it all. Be sure to look inside any “blank” notebooks or journals before you buy them.
- You never know what you will find when you do just a tiny bit of exploring. (Seriously? A temple to the Hindu god Ganesh in Nashville, Tennessee? Mind-blown. See the photo above.)
- Take more pillows from home — hotel pillows just are not the right softness or size.
- Take more afghans from home — having something from home that you can throw over a chair or drape over your legs or feet is very comforting.
- Take blinder clips (big and small) for packages you will open. Scissors to open them neatly. Ziplock bags for things that might spill or leak.
- Take mesh bags for dirty socks & unmentionables in case you have to do laundry while there; they also make it easier to do laundry when you get home.
- Take batteries for the laptop mouse and flashlights or other devices. Recharge every device you’re taking, including the rechargeable batteries and re-chargers.
- If the room only has one recliner, only one of you will get to sleep comfortably.
- Pillow-top mattresses sound like they would be comfortable, but they are not.
- Do not expect to sleep in the hospital room whether you’re the patient or the spouse, especially if it’s in ICU. Nurses and doctors are in and out all the time; monitors beep and buzz and make annoying sounds; someone is always turning on lights or making noise in the hall or adjacent rooms; and you are not allowed to eat or drink in many of the rooms, so that just-before-bedtime snack is a big no-no.
- Parking lots and decks are rarely near the hospital doors that you want to use. If they are, they’re likely to be full or reserved. Walkways usually add to the walking distance, rather than shortening it; park as near to the ground floor as you can and walk outside if weather permits — it will be shorter.
- Hospitals are always laid out in confusing manners. If not, they’re under expansion or construction, so detours will give you the confusion before it’s even built. If shopping malls were laid out as confusingly as hospitals, retail shopping would have ground to a halt years ago.
- Don’t bring your friend who’s in a wheelchair to the hospital to visit a relative in the ICU. Hospitals limit who can visit and when; your friend can’t go in and pushing their wheelchair around an unfamiliar hospital may mean you miss the visiting hours or have to leave the friend in the hall outside of ICU, which is Not A Good Idea. It’s also not good for your stress to be pushing someone around in a wheelchair while you’re lost in a strange hospital in a strange city.
- Diabetes does not care why you’re eating whatever you think you need or deserve due to stress and worry. Diabetes is a disease. The only thing that matters to it is: are you feeding it what makes the disease stronger or what makes you stronger. You need MORE protein and fiber on a trip, not less, and certainly not more carbs. Carbs from Halloween candy count the same as those from any other candy. Take your blood sugar testing supplies with you on the trip and use them to monitor your reactions to stress-and-worry eating.
- Take a camera for better pictures of any scenery. Cell phones can only do so much. Be sure you have batteries and an extra memory card for the camera.
- Lighten the load. Only take ONE unread book on paper if you’re taking an ereader or tablet, too. Okay, two — but that’s all. Really.
- One Work In Progress (WIP) notebook is likely more than you need. Two is just extra weight. Are you planning to actually work on both WIPs on the trip? If you get inspired, can’t you transfer your brainstorm from one thing to another when you return home?
- Green soap is green for a reason. Lemons and limes are citrus, too. If the soap was going to smell like oranges or tangerines or grapefruit, it would be orange (or red — and who would buy red soap?). Take your own liquid soap from home.
- If you’re leaving a note for whoever is watching your house and taking care of your cats, type it up and edit it before printing it out. Email it to them, too. Handwritten notes that have edits on the fly and can’t be read aren’t really useful.
- If your spouse is scheduled for afternoon surgery, that does not mean they will be in their room until the afternoon. There are preparations to be made that will mean they are beyond your reach hours before the time of the surgery. If you want to see them before the surgery, you need to be there the night before.
And, finally, no matter how long you are at home between trips, packing to go back still takes more time than it should.