When a loved one is in hospital or hospice, every night take notes. Write essential questions and get to the hospital early. The docs like to visit for their 3-5 minutes before family arrive so be there and have your questions ready.
Get them answered. When you ask why X has not responded to the surgery and is sicker than before it, Doc will tell you it’s normal and to check back tomorrow. Then you find out the wrong surgeon did the operation of a specialist who didn’t show up and caused cancer to go everywhere and kill your loved one, X.
Be very kind to the nurses. Doc’s are only there for five minutes per day. Nurses have shifts. Get to know their names. Ask them questions and leave the room when needed (if Y needs bathing, a linens change and such).
Eat. Do leave while your loved one sleeps. You must keep up your strength. Coffee, soda and machine-generated snacks do not count. Get out. Breathe a bit of fresh air. Arm yourself for the next battle.
Talk with friends and family. Even if you’re a long-time spouse whose lifetime love and best friend is in that hospital bed, reach out to others.
If the situation is serious and Z will not make it take a few moments to compose yourself and assure yourself you are ready for the loss and will recoup from it bringing Z’s love, wishes and intents with you. Then talk to Z and see what s/he wishes. Last rites? Burial, papers, who to contact. Contact everyone s/he asked about and ask if they’ve anything to convey. Do not ask them all to visit. Anyone who stays around for a few days is close. You don’t want the boss or golf partner showing up out of the blue, that’s what funerals are all about and why acquaintances are not at the hospital with you and other family members.
If needed, make final arrangements. Hopefully there is a will and executor of such. Get through the formalities, even if you must host a post-funeral event.
Grieve. By being there you’ve done much of it. Rest. Get away for a week or two. You have life, and hopefully your spouse, sibling or friend will care for you as you did for Z, Y, or X. Always with hope for ailing friends, Dee