Stuck in a Hospital Bed? Here’s 13 Unusual Ways to Pass the Time

January 5, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER

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Patients undergoing traditional cancer therapies know better than most people what it’s like to be tied to a hospital bed for days at a time. Luckily with some preparation, you can fight boredom and the fuzzy cable television blahs with these suggestions ranging from the practical to the goofy. They’re guaranteed to help keep your mind engaged when your body can’t be!

Catch up with the classics. It’s been said that the weighty tomes of French author Marcel Proust are so dense and complex that it would take a lifetime to finish. Whittle some of it away by reading Swann’s Way, the first volume of his epic series, In Search of Lost Time and maybe you’ll have a fighting chance at the All-England Summarize Proust Competition!

Bring Sexy Back! Ladies, now is an excellent time to learn how to do your own French manicured tips. Grab an inexpensive kit at your local drug store, and practice your way to perfect talons.

PS – I Love You. Grab a stationery set and get a jump start on writing cards for the next holiday.

Phone a Friend. Make calls to everyone you’ve been meaning to catch up with. Remember, you don’t have to tell them where you are if you don’t want to!

Preserve Nana’s Meatloaf Recipe. Got some family heirloom recipes? Use your downtime to organize all the recipes you’ve been carrying around in your head into a recipe box so future generations can feast on the same favorites.


Make All those Kodak Moments Count. Most families I know have a box of pictures that they never got into photo albums. Personally, I have three 🙂 Now’s a great time to get those organized by chronological order or theme in an album or scrapbook.

Get a Leg up on the Tax Man. Prepare your taxes may not be a very glamorous way to spend your time, but spending a few hours getting your details straight may save you a lot of headaches later on.

Shed Your Muggle Skin. The most popular book on Amazon in 2007 was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last in J. K. Rowling’s mega-popular series about The Boy Who Lived. Catch up on your favorite teen wizards with books on CD. Never had the time to read any of the books? Now you do!

Finally, someone in scrubs you look forward to seeing. Get a personal DVD player for around a $100, and rent a season’s worth of Scrubs, Gray’s Anatomy, or House on DVD. Enjoy the suspension of disbelief for entertainment’s sake, or just mute the drama and look at the pretty people walk around in suspiciously fitted scrubs.

Learn a new language in a new way. Before I picked up a copy a Spanish medical terminology book for my husband, the only thing he could do en espanol was ask for directions to the library. Now he can proudly explain dialysis schedules in two languages! (Note: Usefulness of this questionable, but coolness factor is high.)


OMG, I Just Got Poked! Do you have wireless internet and a laptop in your room? Social networks aren’t just for kids anymore. Get yourself a MySpace or Facebook page and bathe yourself in the salacious details of your friends and loved ones.

Get to Know Your Folks’ Folks. Instead of building your social network, you could register on Ancestry and Geneaology and build a family tree based on your genetic network.

Give The Man a Piece of Your Mind. Hey, you voted for ’em — you can tell ’em how you feel, too! Whether it’s budget spending, patient advocacy, the Middle East conflict or something else, use this time to write to your local politicians to tell them your thoughts on how they’re handling their job.

Readers, what have you done to fight the boredom when you’re tied to a hospital bed?

(Note to my readers: I had written this list a few days ago after having spent a week at my husband’s bedside at the hospital. I’m now editing this at the bedside again, since he’s had to go back in. . . I guess you can also add “blogging” to the list!)

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4 Responses to “Stuck in a Hospital Bed? Here’s 13 Unusual Ways to Pass the Time”
  1. Thank you for every other informative blog.
    The place else may I am getting that kind of info written in such a perfect approach?
    I’ve a project that I am just now running on, and I’ve
    been on the glance out for such information.

  2. Will Farrell movies are always a great distraction, at least for me 🙂

  3. Lesly says:

    Excellent suggestion — I’ll have to bring that up to the patients I meet during my volunteer shift at the cancer clinic next Wednesday! Thanks for the tip!

  4. CancerMatch at is a great way to connect with other cancer survivors…expecially when you are stuck in bed, as sometimes, they offer to come over and visit.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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