Top 10 Ways to “Vacationize” Your Hospital Visit or Inpatient Stay-Part 1/2

*This week I went to my umpteenth neurological visit. I didn’t perform as well on my physical exam as I would like, which is why my dose of Prednisone remains unchanged. But I’m not depressed about it because for the first time, I “vacationized” my hospital visit. It made me laugh and even other people at the hospital. As I wrote earlier, 85% of my vacation days go to hospital visits–mostly for the Myasthenia Gravis (MG) and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This week, as you’ll see in my photos, I finally decided to bring the vacation to the hospital! I’ll be sharing tips on vacationizing your time in the hospital whether it’s an outpatient visit or an inpatient stay–I’ve experienced both.  In the latter, I had plasmapheresis for two weeks (similar to dialysis but harder to pronounce) and a variety of surgeries.

Chemo and Stem Cell in My Future?

I might some day do chemotherapy and stem cell research pending the results of studies where scientists are exploring the possibility of stem cells as a cure for MG. If and when I do these treatments, I fully intend on finding ways to vacationize the experience.

Top 10 Ways to Vacationize Your Hospital Visit or Stay

10.  Wear a flower in your hair and lay around your neck.  Since the University of Chicago Medicine has become my resort, I’m determined to make the most of it. 

9.   Put SPF on your nose and smile for the camera. 

8. (If you’re inpatient), turn off the lights in your hospital room and swap ghost stories with the other patients as if you we’re sitting around a campfire with cooking smores.

7. Stare a hospital paintings as if they were grand works of art.

Pretending this Hospital Painting is the Mona Lisa

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to an art museum. Looking at this particular hospital painting, I pretended I was at the Louvre gazing at the Mona Lisa.

6. Look at hospital plants. Close your eyes and make believe they’re palm trees!   

Videos Later

I’ll be uploading videos later of my vacation.

In the mean time, you can read this article I wrote the importance of laughter in surviving my many illnesses–it’s one of the tools in my “Resilience Bucket.” Some of you have written to me asking how I do it–while that’s a complicated answer involving faith, family and friends–laughter has been essential in keeping my head up. Vacationizing my hospital visit makes me laugh…as I said, it made my attending and some of the nurses laugh too. One nurse even played along and asked, “Are you enjoying the sites today?”

Similar article:  5 Reasons People Abandon a Sick Friend

More Strategies to Come in Next Post

Stay tuned! In my next post, you’ll be seeing my next 5 strategies for vacationizing your hospital visit or stay.

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno

*NOTE: This article was originally published a decade ago. I have been busy with grad school lately; I recently started a Psychology program at University of California-Berkeley.


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Hi there! I am a patient advocate, writer, and public speaker most well known for my TEDx Talk, “How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed.” As someone who is juggling 5 illnesses: bipolar 2, myasthenia gravis, endometriosis, psoriasis, and asthma, I’m passionate about helping people who navigate life with both chronic physical & emotional pain. If you’re interested in hiring me to speak at your event, check out the CONTACT tab.

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