'My cancer diagnosis: The hospital buddy' – Sean Kent

January 17, 2013 | by Roberta Nichols

One in a series of stories asking former patients to reflect upon their experience ...

We asked comedian and former Hodgkin lymphoma patient Sean Kent to look back at the time of his diagnosis, and ask himself, what do you know now that you wish you’d known then? What wisdom, soothing words or practical tips would you give your newly diagnosed self?

Sean Kent Comedian and former Hodgkin lymphoma patient Sean Kent with his wife and two daughters. (Photo courtesy of Sean Kent)

He responded with so much good advice that we're posting it in six installments.  The first installment was about guilt, the second about food.

Here’s the third part, titled “The Hospital Buddy.”


Never be in the hospital alone.

The nurses and doctors on your team do the best they can, but the sheer volume of meds you’re on and the patients they deal with will invariably lead to mistakes. I’m not talking about fatal ones, but ones you don’t want to go through as they may cause a range of symptoms from discomfort to hours of needless suffering.

If you’re allergic to morphine or (as was my case) a certain steroid or any drug on earth, make sure to write it down. Keep a list you can give to whomever is keeping watch with you.

Then whenever a hospital employee goes to give you some meds (you may be passed out or you may just be out of it) have the person staying with you ask what you are being given and check it against the list.

I cannot stress how important this is.

You have to be an advocate for yourself but you may not always be able to do that. That’s why it’s important to have someone with you in the hospital – as I said – at all times.

Plus you can make them do stuff for you like rub your feet, get you extra blankets, change the channel, run to the store for Ding Dongs or even tell you a bedtime story. All I can say is it’s nice to have company when you’re in that lonely, lonely place.

Next: Patients/Patience

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