No one likes being in the hospital. So why not make it as pleasant as possible?
Once you are out of danger and/or surgery, and in the recovery phase, there are ways to make your stay more comfortable and stress free, and even include some luxurious touches.
Little details count big when you are feeling vulnerable, weak and generally not your best. I speak from experience. You may think this is silly – until the day arrives and you are wishing, “If only I had…”
If your hospital stay is planned, you can pack with care. If you end up in the ER, this list will be most welcome for the person who will get you what you need – and without you stressing out over it.
Going to the hospital has one thing in common with travel: you need to pack your bag properly. As a result of a hospital stay a few years ago, I wrote up a “hospital survival kit” list. I’d rather call it my hospital luxury bag. Just recently, I had an impromptu trip to the ER and was hospitalized for a few days. My daughter easily assembled everything and brought me my colorful Sportsac bag within hours.
First and most important of course are your daily medications. You should have an easily accessible list at all times. If you plan your meds in a weekly organizer, that goes into the bag.
The next thing may sound obvious, but once I was in the hospital without toiletries and it was awful. The hospital wouldn’t sell me shampoo or toothpaste, and I had no one to buy it for me. So, next is the all-important toiletry kit. I always keep my travel toiletry kit stocked and ready to go for travel, and this is the one I pop into the hospital bag.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, moisturizer, lip balm and hand creme. You want to feel pampered and moisturized. Nicely scented products are aromatherapy for your spirit. I like having a wash cloth from home for a familiar touch. (Hospitals don’t provide them.) I use it not only for bathing, but for refreshing my brow if I’m feverish.
Next into the bag is a pashmina or one of my favorite shawls. I wear it around my shoulders to keep warm when I’m sitting up in bed – remember “bed jackets?” A colorful shawl makes me feel happier and yes, even chic, in the sterile hospital environment. Next, a light, favorite throw, perhaps one I’ve knitted, is nice to put over the sheets for weightless warmth. Again, a touchstone from home brings comfort.
Because my feet get cold in a sterile hospital bed with scratchy sheets, a pair or two of soft, cozy socks is a must for me. Several changes of underpants; the more the merrier. Feeling fresh is everything.
Between socks, pashmina, and light throw, I’m able to manipulate all the temperature zones on my body as they keep changing.
Sleeping in a hospital is very difficult and my travel sleeping mask saves me. You know the drill, nurses coming in all night long, turning on lights, and attendants interrupting you every time you manage to fall asleep. The eye mask excuses you from having to make eye contact, be polite, or even open your eyes.
Getting comfortable in a hospital bed, especially when you’ve been lying in it for days, is nigh impossible. I bring two small Tempur-pedic (memory foam) travel pillows to put wherever I need support – under my neck, arms, knees, sides, hands – as I shift around in bed. These pillows make all the difference when you’re achy and grouchy.
If you’re comfortable, you sleep better and heal faster. Hospital pillows are super thin because they’re disposable, so don’t offer much support. Remember, you pay for everything in a hospital. So instead of paying for another thin pillow, bring your own from home.
Now for the fun, but equally crucial stuff. I bring my knitting, which is always in a knitting bag, so it’s easy to pop into the hospital bag. When people visit and ask what I need, I always welcome magazines and paperbacks that I then leave behind for other patients.
It goes without saying: my mobile phone, my iPad, maybe a portable speaker or headphones. I also bring my Kindle which I prefer for reading over the iPad. If I have serious work to do, my computer, but I’d prefer not.
The key to all this tech is: an extension cord! Hospitals don’t have a lot of plugs, and they don’t have plugs that are close enough to your bed and/or tray table. An extension cord is a must. Perhaps you can’t get out of the bed, cross the room and plug your phone in, and then, get back to the bed and watch it until it is charged. Now that’s painful! Or you need to plug in your phone and iPad at the same time. Trust me, the extension cord is the ticket.
No one likes to think about, much less plan for being in a hospital. I wish you great health – and I hope you remember me and this little list should you have to make an unfortunate call to your local hospital.
What would you put in a hospital survival kit? What essentials do you have or bring when visiting people? How do you stay in the hospital with a touch of luxury? We’re listening and ready to learn!
Tags Medical Conditions