My heart go out to anyone who is facing a family medical difficulty.
Having said that I would like to add a few notes for those on the sidelines and who mean well.
Do try to plan you visits to the hospital through the immediate family. To do otherwise, creates problems not only for the patient but also the staff. When the room gets too full of visitors, most often you will be asked to leave. And it is exhausting for the patient. I know, I have been there more often than I care to remember. All I wanted to do was sleep. Not entertain visitors.
If you do choose to visit, then please remember your friend/relative will probably have a roommate. Be considerate of that roommate and their company.
Please do not sit on the bed. It can be very jarring for the patient. Specially if they have sutures.
Save your visits for after the patient is home. Your help will be more appreciated.
Clear with the family if the patient is allergic to flowers. Humorous cards are more appreciated and can go home and kept with the patient. After all, humor is the best medicine. If you insist on a present, send a nice robe or nightgown to be worn home. Check with the family for size. One time while in I was in rehab, I mentioned that I would love to be able to wear my own nightgown. But I didn't have any with me. I must have received at least ten in the mail from friends. How quickly the word spread. I still have some of them today and still wear them. They mean the world to me.
Have some meals cooked for when the patient returns home. Include the spouse in the amount. After hospital food, a home cooked meal will be greatly appreciated and devoured. If you do visit the hospital, check with family as to what foods the patient wants or can safely eat. Fried foods are not a good idea for a gall bladder patient. But a big cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee can make their day. Decaf coffee will never cut it for me.
Lastly, that big elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about? Unless the patient brings it up, then don't you be the one. Leave the family argument at home.
If anyone has any other gems to add, please do so.