A: Life is all about the futile battle to avoid injury and death. Sometimes our loved ones have the inevitable misstep in this struggle and end up in the hospital. They deserve our respect and attention, but this doesn’t mean we have to be bored or unproductive. Thanks to my mother being a degenerate alcoholic with no concern for her health I have a lot of experience with waiting around in various hospitals. There is plenty of “downtime” that you can use to your advantage. Nurses and doctors are often pushing visitors out of the patient’s room to do indelicate things that are better not to think about. Patients in hospitals are typically weak and tired needing a lot of naps. And if your family members are anything like my mother you will want to leave the room during meal times or bring a poncho and bucket of cleaning wipes.
One of the most important things for you to remember is that you don’t have to neglect your fitness during this time of annoyance and grief. Anytime that you can get away from your familial obligations you can walk the halls of the hospital. Hospitals are typically built like mazes and are designed to keep patients disoriented and confused so they can’t just get up and walk out once they realize just how much their stay is going to cost. Use these labirynthian corridors to get your heart rate up.
One of the ways that I deal with boredom is to have a little snack. I get bored easily so I usually have a box of jelly doughnuts, or tin of oatmeal rum raisin cookies on hand. Make sure to take small bites and chew slowly. It seems to me that ingesting food slowly and in smaller chunks lets the body break everything down more efficiently, and therefore reduces any negative effects.
As a final note, I would like to remind you that you are supposed to care about the welfare of your family member trapped in a hospital bed. So, if you tend to get an upset stomach when visiting someone in the hospital, as I do, have the courtesy not to bombard them with your gassy intestinal gifts. Your loved one is trapped in a bed and can’t get away from any methane assault you may leave in the room. Instead, just excuse yourself and step into the room next door. You don’t know the people in that room, so you don’t have any obligation to take them into consideration. The resulting sounds of horror can also provide several moments of entertainment, as well.