I'm preparing for a surgery and hospital stay. I'm so I'm worried about sensory overload. Are there other autistics here who spent time in hospitals? How was it for you, and what can I do to make it easier for me?

@Corina bring extra blankets, it's always freezing in hospitals and the blankets and sheets they give you are thin and scratchy.

comfy slippers with grippers so you don't slip on the tile (having said this, the grippy socks the local hospitals give are awesome, but not every hospital has comfy stuff).

Head phones and device to use them with. hopefully you are in a room to yourself and have a good roommate, but you may need to cover up/cancel out noise from th next bed.

@Corina The lights are fucking *BRIGHT* in the rooms. Sometimes you can dim them, sometimes not. Sun glasses or a blind fold or something can be good.

Lots of stimmy stuff and stuff to do to distract yourself. Right after surgery you won't want to do anything but lie there, but if they keep in for a day or two, you may end up with lots of time to do nothing but think.

@Corina A bag full of your same food or favorite comfort food. hospital food around here ins't bad, but the options are real limited and they never have anything I like/can eat. (unless the surgery measn you have rules about what you can eat! If so, listen to your doctor!)

A written list of boundaries you want the doctors/nurses to abide by. Make sure you sign it and make sure your doctor sees it. (cont)

@Corina Some stuff you'll be overruled on because policies, but within 'reason' they need to abide by your requests for your own care. So if you want them to ask before they touch you, write that down and get it in your file!

If possible, arrange for a friend/family to go with you to explain/intercede if you end up in a meltdown or shutdown.

If I think of anything else, I'll add it later. Good luck!

@jessmahler @Corina seconding all of this especially the headphones. Also bring earbuds to wear at night if you can't sleep with headphones. If you're at all close to the nurse's station it's a flurry of noise and activity.

Eye mask to shut out light from outside the room, neighbor's TV, etc.

@testingwithfire @jessmahler Thank you both for the advices. I won't be allowed to eat food, so that's out, but I'll definately bring earphones, earplugs and an eyemask. I'm now working on a piece of paper with my sensory sensitivities and what I can do/can ask for to avoid overload.

@Corina Bringing a stuffed animal to squeeze is EXCELLENT.

Also an extra battery brick. Phones are great but some places are apparently weird about plugging into the wall, and you want to be able to power yourself without having to ask for assitance anyway.

As other have said, headphones.

@Corina I didn't have time to prepare since mine was an emergency in 2017 and I was in the hospital for 10 days all told. Not knowing what someone was doing or when to expect things was even worse than the sensory stuff for me. I was able to get people to begin explaining clearly what would happen right now and when to expect the next thing, but it took a while. That helped a lot.

hospital, surgery 

@Corina I had surgery this year but was allowed to go home the same day. I needed to know exactly what they were doing in advance and I needed to know who was present.
Waking up was bad because I was shaking and felt panicky but couldn't reach my phone that was lying on a chair next to me.
Next time I'd make sure that I can reach what I need after waking up. Phone, noise canceling headphones and so on. Make sure you know what they allow you.

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