If you find yourself being admitted to the hospital, I would imagine your mind might be spinning. At least mine was when I was first admitted. Depending on why or how you’ve been admitted you may be packing a bag or asking someone to go home and gather your things. For me it’s been latter. You would think after nine hospital stays one would start to prepare. Somehow they always seem to catch me by surprise. In my experience, there are essential items that can make or break your hospital stay. Here are some of my best suggestions on what to bring on your hospital experience.
1. Comfortable Underwear
This may sound obvious but if you don’t have comfortable underwear you can find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. I would suggest pulling out those granny panties that are stuffed in the back of the drawer. That pair that looks like a diaper, pack them. In two days after non stop sitting you will thank me. If you’re unable to get some in a pinch, ask hospital staff. They usually have some type of horrible cloth shorts that may suffice.
2. Your Favorite Pajamas
Much like the underwear, you’re going to be laying around for multiple days. You don’t want to find yourself longing for items far out of your reach. You may want your lounge around clothes that feel overly cozy and warm. Don’t be fooled you want something that is acceptable for a comfortable day and a comfortable night. In an ideal world, you’d have several outfits but that may not be an option so be prepared if you’re in these clothes for multiple days. My favorite brand is by far The Lazy One, their pajamas are comfortable and light. Normally, I pair it with a fuzzy sweatshirt and some comfortable socks, to keep warm or toss off quickly for any needed procedures.
3. Face Wipes or Face Wash
This is one thing that hospitals rarely have. They may provide face wipes or make up remover wipes but I’ve found that they often dry out your skin or even worse, make you break out.
4. Face lotion or Regular Lotion
There’s not much to this, hospitals aren’t known for their lotions. Most of the ones I’ve used make matters worse. Anytime you can bring items that will help keep your normal routine, I say bring them. (Within Reason)
The idea of sitting around watching TV all day sounds amazing. Until all that is on is reruns of TLC shows you never watch, yet somehow you’ve seen every episode they play. Don’t fool yourself, if you have the optimistic idea that this is the time you have to read that book you bought five years ago. You are wrong. If you don’t read books in your daily life, you won’t want to read them in the hospital. Hospitals are not quiet. Someone is always coming in to check vitals. Maybe there is a Chaplin asking if they can pray for you. Your roommates call light has been on for fifteen minutes. Getting that noise out of your head is way harder than you think. My go to entertainment is by far having some way to watch Netflix or Hulu. Coloring books and crosswords also go a long way. It’s like distracting a toddler on a plane. Most likely this experience is new for you and it’s a good time to watch that movie you’ve been putting off.
6. Bring chargers and back up chargers
This seems obvious but it always slips my mind. Somehow that cord I had magically wiggled out of my purse and is nowhere to be found. If you are packing your bag, bring two (if you have them) you may end up switching floors and losing one, sounds crazy but it happens. Trust me, once it’s gone it’s not coming back.
7. Some of your favorite snacks
You may be on a restricted diet, if so, ignore this one but hospital food is not good. Normally, you won’t have the option of ordering from outside establishments and snacks will save you. If it’s your favorite candy or snack bar, bring it. Somehow I always end up craving french fries and smoothies when I enter a hospital (patient or not). It’s becoming a staple in every experience I’ve had. If you have the luxury of having someone visit you take them up on their offer to bring you something. It’s not something to feel bad about. The longer you find yourself in the hospital, the more you will start to desire outside items. To quell this before the cravings get horrible, go with little things along the way.
8. A positive attitude
This is huge; most hospital staff are the kindest people you’ll ever meet. They want to take care of you the best they possibly can, but if you are rude to them, their attitude will change too. Often, you will have the same team multiple days in a row, so treat everyone with kindness. Remember that this is their job. Some days are harder than others but most staff are there to help. They are willing to do a lot to make your experience better. Being in the hospital can be difficult sometimes. Most people would rather be anywhere else but remember that it is a place of healing. Be grateful that you are there and getting help. It may seem impossible but if you can write down three things you’re grateful for everyday, your mood will automatically make it easier to be there.
Remember that hospital stays can be rather unpredictable. It could be one day or a month. Settle in to the idea that it may not go how you expect. Thank your loved ones for their support and ask for visitors, if you’re up for it. Surrounding yourself with positive thoughts and people will not only make healing easier but it may speed up the process. There is always someone on your side, even if it’s only your care team. That is not a small thing. Embrace people who want to help you. Let them hold your hand (metaphorically or literally if you’re that type of person) through the process. Also, remember that if you can’t go get something yourself, you may be able to order it from a store pick up. Have a loved one go and get everything for you. Having someone dig around for stuff you may or may not like can be difficult. You have a specific idea of what you want. With order pick up, you can control what you’re getting and not feel the burden of having someone go through your things.