As someone who spends a great deal of time in the hospital, I like to have certain items I always bring with me that make the trip easier. I thought I would share my list with you and ask you to comment with any suggestions of products you use!
Most important to me is my “healthcare notebook.” I carry this book with me daily so I can access the information at any time and so if there is an emergency others can know the medicines I am on and what doctors treat me. I organize it into different topic areas such as “doctors appointments”, “medical purchase receipts”, “vitals log”, “medication list”, “home health information”, and “questions to ask physician.” Anyone dealing with an illness could benefit from this sort of note-taking system. Doctors run on data, so having an accurate log of vitals, ostomy output amount, and other important symptoms is the easiest way for them to make appropriate decisions. I jot down any question that comes into my head throughout the day, ensuring the 5-10 minutes a day I spend with the physician are productive and I don’t forget what I wanted to say. I also write down their answers, because processing that information and retaining it can be difficult – especially if on sedating medication. This particular notebook was gifted to me by my mother in law. It reads “just a girl boss building her empire.” It makes me happy every time I look at it! So have fun with the cover and get whichever size feels most useful for you.
I always pack comfortable clothing that can access my port, which helps me avoid wearing a terrible/oversized gown during my stay. I actually leave a small duffle bag packed with a few v-neck shirts, coordinating pajama pants or sweatpants, fuzzy socks with grips on the bottom, comfy underwear, and a robe in my room just in case. It might seem excessive to have this packed prematurely, but it saves so much time when trying to get to an emergency room.
It is important you wear clothes in which the nurses can easily access your port and that doctors can evaluate your ostomy without interference. Because I am conscious about what the staff will need access to, I have never been told I have to use a gown instead! This is a big deal for me, because my OCD flares when I am inpatient. I can control so little about the situation, that being able to control my clothes is helpful. It also feels more relaxing and simulates the feeling of comfort I receive at home.
Next, when I am in the hospital I always want my heated blanket. I am unreasonably cold all the time due to my adrenal failure, so the freezing hospital rooms are very harsh. It also helps relieve some of my pain, by relaxing my muscles. The blanket helps bring a pop of color to the room and allows it to not feel so white-washed. The particular blanket I purchased is great because it doubles as a wearable cape. There is a large slit in the center of the fabric that allows you to drape it around your body. I highly recommend it!
Sleep can be difficult to obtain during a hospital stay. With nurses interrupting it to get vitals and doctors coming in early in the morning, it can be challenging to get restful sleep. I help combat this with earplugs and an eye-mask. The eye-mask allows me to sleep during the day if nighttime rest was unsuccessful and the earplugs are useful all the time, especially with beeping monitors, loud patients, and overhead alerts.
For entertainment I bring a selection of books (this time a comic book), magazines, and playing cards. It can be lonely in a hospital room so having things to do by yourself is super important. I love to learn new Solitaire games. Did you know there was more than just one way to play? In fact, there is over 1,000 known variations!
I hope you never have a hospital stay, but if you do, these items can greatly improve your stay! Comment with what you bring that helps you the most!