Our family has a new member, its name is Asthma. It’s a real bitch, but we will do what we can to keep the peace. You know it’s like that dodgy family member who always outstays their welcome, but you can’t get rid of them. You’ve just got to hope they don’t visit too often.

Along with asthma, came our first stay in hospital. Miss 4 and I had a “special two night sleepover”. Not that there was much sleeping what with me in protective mother overdrive mode and of course, the regular nurse visits to check Miss 4’s oxygen levels and administer medicine. It was a scary time as anyone who has had a sick kid would understand. It was also an introduction to a world that unfortunately we may continue to find ourself from time to time.

So, here’s bigwords’ Guide to Hospital Stays.

1 – If you think you need your phone charger then it’s most probable you will need a change of underwear and pajamas Trust me on this one, sleeping in your jeans is not comfortable and spending the next morning in them is just plain gross. But hey, at least you have a fully charged phone to ring people to let them know you smell a little fishy.

2 – Do not eat the green jelly. It is that colour for a reason – there is nothing real in it. And definitely do not eat the hotdog wrapped in alfoil or the “mashed potato”. And don’t get food from a nearby takeaway restaurant expecting a higher quality of cuisine. The spring rolls also did not have anything real in them either, unless you count THE LENGTH OF STRING.

3 – Bring headphones and panadol. The first item helps drown out the sounds of other people’s crying children. The second deals with sleep deprivation. These things are usually medicated with wine, but drinking in the children’s ward is like having a bong at a Young Liberal’s convention.

4 – Do brings lots of coins for the vending machines. As evidenced by Number 2, hospital food is not nice. There are times when bbq, salt and vinegar and cheese and onion cover all the major food groups. Coke and Cherry Ripes are just the icing on the “highly-processed, full of additives” cake.

5 – On the topic of cake, do not offer the very skinny teen a chocolate cup cake. She is in hospital for a reason.

6 – Do get people to bring real coffee in with them, as no amount of milk and sugar can make instant coffee taste good. No matter how desperate you are, it is still best to have caffeine withdrawal than drink poo flavoured water.

7 – Do talk with the other parents, it helps you realise you are not alone. And they smell bad too, so you don’t feel so gross.

8 – Do take the time when you are awake with worry to kiss your sleeping child. It will help calm you and give you something to do when all that’s on television is football and the only magazine is one detailing the arrival of Bec Hewitt’s first baby.

9 – Do watch where your child is walking when playing in the communal toy room so as to avoid her stepping in the warm wee of a yet toilet-trained toddler you just met.

10 – Do thank the doctors and nurses – they are amazing people. A-MAZ-ING.

Have you ever had to spend time with your child in hospital? Have you got any handy tips?