Thursday, August 1, 2013

Five Free Freebies From the Not Free Hospital

While being diagnosed with a brain tumor is no one's idea of a good time, it helps if you can keep your eyes open to the perks of spending time at the hospital. Here are 5 freebies I walked away with:

1) SNACKS! I sat in the ER of my local hospital for a few hours before getting the news that there was something in my head that shouldn't be there. It was around 4 in the afternoon and I hadn't eaten since breakfast. As soon as they told me the results of the CT scan, suddenly I had all the crackers and juice I could want. This experience taught me a valuable lesson: in a hospital setting, you don't know when you'll encounter food again, so horde the snacks you can. Just shove them all into your purse. Who cares? You have a brain tumor.

2) JEWELRY! Not only does the hospital give you free bracelets, they even personalize them with your name, birth date, and patient ID number! Where else can you get free engraving like that?

3) CLOTHES! Even though I brought my own socks, the hospital gifted me these. While they are a bit limiting in that they only come in blue, they are warm and comfy. The downside is that they have white traction stuff on the bottom to keep you from falling down, so if the ability to moon-walk across the kitchen floor or do that Tom-Cruise-Risky-Business-sliding-in-your-underwear thing is important to you, you might inquire about exchanging these for the mesh underwear that the maternity unit gives away.

4) A NOTE THAT GETS YOU LITTLE BROWN BOTTLES WITH WHITE CAPS!  These speak for themselves. Initially, they are filled with fun and/or awful medication (many of the ones shown here will keep you from throwing up...this qualifies as 'fun' at this point). Once they're empty, you have lots of little brown bottles for holding stuff! And little white caps! For capping stuff!

5) THIS THING THAT LOOKS LIKE GIANT BIRTH CONTROL! While this appears to be a giant condom, the hospital does not actually endorse this as a reliable method of birth control. Rather, this is for throwing up into should the stuff in the brown bottles and white caps not do their job. I keep this in my purse. It's a great conversation starter.

Complain about rising health care costs all you want, if it's paying for freebies like these, I'm on board.


  1. Some apparently little known perqs of the Brigham. If you ask while in the ER, they will bring you a boxed lunch. It has a turkey sandwich on WW, an apple, milk, and a fruit cup. They will also give you mini cans of gingerale. But you gotta ask.

    The non-slip socks come in blue, yellow, and tan. They are color coded by size. The tan ones are the biggest, blue is medium, yellow is small.

    If you talk to the nutritionist, you can get snack packs of pistachios and/or almonds. They deliver them 2x/day.

    If you ask, the nurses will look all over the unit for trashy magazines. Then you leave them for the next person.

    On each floor in the family room or nearby there is a fridge with snacks. Soda, pudding, jello, bread for toast, graham crackers and saltines. Find out where it is so you can offer your guests a snack.

    If you aren't on a special diet, you can order things that aren't on your menu. Have your nurse help you. They are good at collusion.

    And most important. The coffee you order is vile. Get your coffee from the nurses station pot. MUCH better!

    Yes, this is all about food because I'm on the most restrictive hospital diet so I work the system for all it's worth. :-)

  2. Carol Ewing McLaryAugust 6, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    This fantastic array of freebies makes Oprah's "favorite things" giveaway look shabby.