Making home seem less distant
October 16, 2004 7:20 PM   Subscribe

My wife just got admitted to a psych ward for a week's holiday. What sort of things can I get her to keep her entertained and to remind her of home? Difficulty: must be able to get said items on a sunday morning and can't cost more than about £20 / $40.
posted by twine42 to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
Some of the items that will be allowed in will depend on what kind of ward she's on, and what she's been admitted for. I'll try to cover some of the bases here, but use your best judgement if any of them go against her own situation or the ward's policies. If she's allowed to wear her own clothes/pyjamas, bring her a clean supply of both. It makes a huge difference. Slippers and socks are a must. Hospital air is really dry - a nice moisterizer (just bring her own, if she uses one) for both the face and the body will help. Hair elastics, small toiletries and a hair brush are usually well received.

Also, hospital food usually sucks. Supplement it with her favourite snacks and healthy fruits. Bring some of her favourite hobbies: knitting, reading, crossword puzzles, photo organizing, gossip magazines, books, portable music players and a few new albums can help time pass and allow her mind to relax. A plant or some flowers will help to brighten the space, as will your support and maybe a few photos of things she'll look forward to at the end of the week. Best of luck to you, and make sure that you take care of yourself at this time as well. She'll need you as strong, caring and positive as possible, which is already evident since you're here asking what can be done.
posted by fionab at 8:10 PM on October 16, 2004

Oh yeah. An easy boardgame, even if you're not typically boardgame-type people. It allows you to be together, interacting, but not just talking about how the day went. Sometimes the best thing in the evening (or whenever visiting hours are) is just to relax and interact without the pressure of *fixing* something. Scrabble is great for that, if she's up for it.
posted by fionab at 8:34 PM on October 16, 2004

The sense of smell is a powerful one, and can easily evoke home and family when nothing else can.

I suggest you bring her something that smells not only like home, but like you. Does she ever wear a shirt, sweatshirt, or sweater of yours? Is there a blanket the two of you share when snuggling on the couch?

Are family photos allowed? Or perhaps not a photograph of people but a photograph of place ... a people-free shot of a place special either to her or to the both of you.
posted by anastasiav at 9:07 PM on October 16, 2004

Audio or video cassettes of things that she likes, perhaps. An audio cassette (or MP3 recordings?) of you, family, friends, telling her good things, or reading a favorite novel or story.

Hope it all works out OK.
posted by davidmsc at 9:59 PM on October 16, 2004

After her little suicide attempt, my ex wanted cigarettes, soda (small bottles, not 2-liters) and a comb, toothbrush, etc. The ward did not allow much else. Except for some of the items in fionab's first paragraph, nothing else listed above would have made it past the front desk.
posted by mischief at 10:23 PM on October 16, 2004

We like to alternate Scrabble and Connect 4. Connect 4 is mindless and allows room for conversation on top. In fact, the only trick to playing it is not to get too absent minded about it.

When my gf went away for a summer program out of state, she asked for my bathrobe. I gave it to her unwashed. That might sound gross, but other details I won't mention here suggested she'd appreciate it. I think she did. Maybe your wife's own pillow from your bed?

Maybe some old pictures you can look through together, too, if that's appropriate.
posted by scarabic at 11:38 PM on October 16, 2004

Response by poster: cheers guys. shopping time!

Okay... put more clothes on, then shopping time. After all, who'll post this thread for me? :) [Yes, I've gone nuts...]
posted by twine42 at 1:53 AM on October 17, 2004

and don't forget to tell her you love her.
posted by quonsar at 8:56 AM on October 17, 2004

Response by poster: quonsar, trust me - that one I didn't need reminding. She gets that one all the time.

True to form, however, I forgot slippers. Bugger. I did, however, remember to go to Argos and buy a $10 silver ring to go on her finger where her wedding rings normally sit. First time I've seen her smile in a long time.

Cheers guys.
posted by twine42 at 4:18 PM on October 17, 2004

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