With a surgery date iminent (although still not confirmed!) I’m doing my best to ensure I’m prepared. This is really just a ploy to keep the control freak in me from panicking! For the first time in my life I’m actually thankful I’ve spent time in hospital on a number of occasions (some even prior to my diagnosis!) and know exactly what I need to make my stay as comfortable as possible.
As I plan what I need to pack – and what I still need to buy – I thought I’d share my top ten must haves for hospital survival.
1. Earplugs and Eyemask: Sleep is one of the most important things for healing yet, ironically, one of the hardest things to do on a hospital ward. It’s noisy and you have no control over when it’s ‘lights out’ (unless you are lucky enough to have a side room). Earplugs and an eyemask are life savers in this situation.
2. Nice toiletries: Let’s be honest you are in hospital for a reason so you are probably going to be feeling a bit crap! Some nice toiletries can make all the difference. If you will be able to have a shower whilst in hospital (not a luxury I’ll have I don’t think) then take a nice shower gel. You know, one that smells amazing! Moisturisers are essential too – your skin will get very dry and you’ll always feel better after using some cream, especially on your face…personally I just use coconut oil. Baby wipes are also a must have! They allow you to quickly freshen up and feel more human when you get some visitors, even if you are unable to have a proper wash.
3. An extra long charging cable for devices: You’ll usually find a plug high up on the wall behind your hospital bed which you can use to plug in and charge your electronic devices. However, if charging with just a normal cable you will be unable to use the device or have to contort your body to do so because the cable won’t reach your bed. An extra long cable (I use a 3m one) helps resolve this. Problem solved!
4. Electronic devices: Everyone has personal preferences here but for my upcoming admission I’ve purchased an iPad Air 2 64gb. Whilst I’m aware I won’t be up to using this for quite a while following my operation, in the weeks that follow it will be a life saver in terms of allowing me to watch Sky TV (through Sky Go), watch films, listen to music, stay in touch with people through social media and, of course, update my blog!
Another electronic device I’ll be taking is my phone!
Obviously remember to take your headphones too!
5. An ibeani: This awesome little product is recommended by Live Better with Cancer as a way of allowing patients to watch a tablet without having to hold it or sit up if they are unable to post surgery. I’ve just purchased one and so I’m unable to comment on its effectiveness but I’m hoping it was money well spent!
6. Bedwear: I love pyjamas and any excuse to buy new ones! Always make sure you take plenty of pairs with you into hospital. These are your clothes and bedwear while you’re in so you’ll be wanting them washed (by a helpful loved one) on a regular basis. Having lots of pairs with you ensures you have enough to keep you going.
Take a nice cotton (not fluffy!) dressing gown too. It allows you to keep yourself decent when your in laws or coleugues (for example) visit without becoming roasting hot or feeling like you are obviously in your bedwear.
Comfortable slippers with a rubber sole help for when moving around the ward, when you go to the toilet for example.
7. Two drawstring bags for laundry: The helpful loved one doing your washing doesn’t really want to have to touch it. By packing two cotton drawstring bags you can fill one with your dirty washing. Then, once full it can be taken away and popped in a washing machine with your dirty clothes still inside! Your lovely, helpful loved one can then handle and dry the clothes and bag once they are nice and clean out of the machine. In the meantime you can start filling the other bag to repeat the process.
8. Sensible pants: In my experience of being in hospital, other people (Drs, nurses etc) see you in for underwear a lot! For instance when I was in for a hip operation I had Drs needing to draw on my hip before surgery and check the site after surgery and nurse injecting anti-blood clot medication into my thigh each day. Whilst I’m sure the staff don’t care what your underwear looks like, you’ll certainly feel much less self-conscious if you have some ‘sensible pants’ on rather than your best French lace when the student Dr is checking you over for instance.
9. Colouring books/puzzles/games/books: I always take a range of different activities. Sometimes you will be up for reading and sometimes your brain won’t manage it due to medication, pain or tiredness. Also remember when planning what activities you will likely use whilst in hospital that your brain will be in a very different state from normal.
10. Games for visitors: When in hospital you spend a lot of time with visitors and sometimes you want to take about your health and sometimes you really don’t! A good distraction is to have a couple of games on hand (or ask them to bring one). My personal favourites are travel battleships, travel 4×4 and cards against humanity (not for the faint hearted).
Is there anything I’m forgetting?
Advice is always welcome!
Love and light, Fi xxx