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Dr. Bill's Commentaries

What to bring to the hospital   (April 4, 2007)

Nobody likes to go into a hospital. But, if you ever need to be in one, you can review this checklist as you plan what to bring along with you.

  • Ask to talk to the hospital's Diabetes Nurse Educator, and have the nurse educator review your capabilities do "Self-Care" (to take care of yourself, as you do at home). Sometimes he/she will be able to write orders in the chart that authorize you to do some of the things that you routinely do at home.

  • Bring your most recent blood sugar diary.

  • Bring your blood sugar meter and finger sticker, and strips for the meter. Sometimes, the staff will permit you to do your own tests with your own meter, and give your test results to the nurses for entry into your medical record: ASK!

  • Bring your medications, in their original containers if possible, and your insulin bottles. Sometimes, the staff will permit you to use your own insulin, and give your own shots: ASK!

  • Remember that there are different brands and formulations of insulin, and the hospital might not stock the exact product that you have been using. If anyone on the hospital staff says you must use the hospital's supplies, ask your doctor or the hospital's Diabetes Nurse Educator to verify this with the pharmacy. Sometimes a little persistence here will allow you to maintain much better blood sugar control.
  • Bring:
    • Comfortable shoes.
    • Pajamas and slippers.
    • Extra clothes to wear, if you will be allowed to be up and walking about.
    • A wristwatch or cheap clock.
    • Personal items (comb and brush, dental supplies, cosmetics, etc.).
    • Books, magazines, puzzles, MP3 player, handicrafts, or other things to occupy your time.
    • Your favorite sugar substitute.
    • Your insurance information.
    • Your endocrinologist's office telephone number. Give the phone number to the doctor or nurse so they can call him/her for assistance with your diabetes. If you are hospitalized out-of-town, the office staff can fax your recent medical records to any hospital.
  • Bring your sense of humor! Hospital employees have a tough job, and your ability to smile and to assist with your own care will be gratefully appreciated.
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Dr. Bill Quick began writing at HealthCentral's diabetes website in November, 2006. These essays are reproduced at D-is-for-Diabetes with the permission of HealthCentral.



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