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Commentary Detail

Hospital Advice
Commentary by: Elaine Viets
Aired January 16, 2008

Aunt Emma is in the hospital for gall bladder surgery. Tom had a heart attack. Everyone seems to be sick, except you.

How do you help someone whoís in the hospital?

I was treated especially well when I was sick. Here are some suggestions:

Food is a welcome gift. Sick people do not feel like cooking. Their families donít have time. Theyíll appreciate dinner, hot soup, or dessert.

Make sure you know the personís diet restrictions. A pork roast for a heart patient is probably not a good idea. But Don still blesses the friend who brought him a roast chicken. He loved the gifts of cookies and chocolate. Not a crumb was wasted.

A tough ex-cop liked the gift basket of pears. He didnít seem like someone who would enjoy health food, but they reminded him of the summer pears of his boyhood.

Flowers and balloons are fun, but check with the hospital first. Some no longer allow these in rooms because of allergies.

Books make good gifts. So do those trashy magazines you see in supermarket aisles.

A hospital stay often dries out your skin. I loved lotion and skin care products. Also, facial and manicure gift certificates.

Offers to feed the pets, watch the kids, or clean the house are appreciated.

Cards and notes are a good way to entertain shut-ins. Some friends started a tacky greeting card contest. They made me laugh.

This last tip is not recommended for Aunt Gertrude, the church lady.

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Elaine Viets

Elaine Viets


Elaine Viets is a freelance writer.

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