What’s it like to spend Christmas in Hospital? – Part 1

Christmas in Hospital

When people realise how long I spend in hospital (usually the majority of the winter), one of the first things they ask me is if I’ve ever spent Christmas Day in hospital.  Then where I am with my transplant. What’s it like spending Christmas in hospital? There is actually quite a lot of difference in the run up to Christmas and Christmas Day itself.

Christmas carol singers in hospital
Christmas in Hospital – Carol singers with brass band

I’ve spent several years in hospital in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and then been discharged on Christmas Eve or the 23rd. Staff put up decorations on the ward. These are only in the corridors and communal areas like around the nurse’s station, the waiting room, but never in your room. Depending on where your room is, you can usually see a bit of decoration. Then you see them if you are out of your room for a walk, or a trip to xray or even to M&S, if you are feeling frivolous.

The CF team are keen to get those well enough home so they can enjoy Christmas with their loved ones – so there are a lot of discharges on the 23rd or 24th December. There are reduced levels of staff over the Christmas break, so unless you really aren’t well enough there’s not a lot of benefit to being in. 


Carol Singers in Hospital

CF team with carols and presents
Chrismas in hospital – CF team with carols, presents and optional fancy dress

One evening, usually in the week before Christmas we get a visit from some carol singers. Patients are also treated to, or subjected to (depending on your viewpoint), a couple of numbers from a volunteer’s choir I believe organised by the chaplaincy team. They even had a number of brass instruments as accompaniments. I think it probably works better on larger wards where patients can see them more clearly. On our ward, as we are in side rooms, to properly view them you need to open your door.

We also have the CF team carols. The MDT and ward staff come to our rooms and give us a carol or two. As there aren’t that many patients in, and we are spread out, you can end up having your own private performance from around 20 CF team members. Talk about getting your money’s worth from the NHS! We usually get given a small gift then too. 


Christmas in Hospital
Christmas in Hospital – Perfect place for a Christmas tree (almost)

In the main entrance of the hospital, there is a larger Christmas Tree, but no other decorations really.  In the true style of the hospital, it isn’t a bad tree but it has been shoved into an uncompromising position, bent over in the shadowy area under the escalator! 

First Christmas Day in Hospital (2018)

Last Christmas I was in for some weeks before Christmas Day, with the aim being to get me properly well and sorted before Christmas. As the weeks rolled on we laughed that I could still be in for Christmas. As it got closer, it seemed unlikely that I’d going home so the plan was I’d have a day or two’s leave in order to spend it with family. Unfortunately I ended up having quite a bad reaction to a drug that they were trying to desensitise me to, and I could barely get out of bed let alone manage a night away. For example, I would not have been able to walk from the car to the house or go up any stairs. I felt pretty rough so having Christmas in hospital was the only real option.

Read Part 2 Christmas Day in Hospital – Christmas Day itself

Read Part 3 Christmas in Hospital – Food and Present Ideas