I am one of these people who packs for everything. Over the years this has resulted in my partner reverting to unpacking and repacking my suitcase to then buying us backpacks and finally drawing the line and saying ‘Carry-On only”
So what do you pack for hospital? I have made a list that is not conclusive but hopefully gives you an idea about what you might need as well as fitting into a backpack or small overnight/weekender bag. If you want the checklist then go to www.DonorPlus.org
Firstly, start with your paperwork. This may vary with the admissions procedures of the hospital or clinic you are going to but useful information to have on hand include, details of any previous illnesses, previous surgeries, and any allergies to medicines, foods or environment. Don’t forget to bring a list of names and contact numbers of family and friends the hospital may call if required.
Having relevant scans and X rays with you will negate the need to double up on these procedures and many of them are now stored on cloud based applications so make sure you know your User ID and password in case your doctor or specialist needs to look at them.
If you currently use a CPAP machine then bring it. Any equipment that you use at home on a daily basis needs to be packed and taken with you to hospital.
Medications: always bring in enough of your current medication that will cover you for the expected time in hospital and then allow an extra 2 days. Your medications must be in their original packaging.
What to wear: loose fitting clothing. Whatever you wear on the way into hospital is what you will be wearing on the way home. Most likely that will be some casual pants and a comfortable top. Runners/trainers are best for footwear.
Once you are checked in you will be wearing either a hospital gown or your own pyjamas. It isn’t a fashion parade so even an old pair are fine. Pack enough so that you have a pair that can be washed and a pair to be worn. You will also need some slippers, preferably non slip and with a back on them as well as a dressing gown. Typically the hospital will want to see you up and walking about a bit so having a dressing gown as you make your way down the hallways is essential. A few plastic bags are handy for your dirty clothes and keeps them separate from your clean ones.
Toiletries, just the essentials. Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, moisturiser, lip balm. If you have any of those small hotel/motel shampoos and conditioners throw them in they are usually good for 2 washes and you won’t need to shampoo every day. Hairbrush and comb but leave the hairdryer at home unless essential.
Phone, tablet, chargers and a puzzle book, 2 pens and a notepad. Forget the laptop unless you really need it. A tablet and a phone will keep you connected to your social networks and work can wait, at least for a few days.
“If in pain – get on a plane” is what we would say when I lived in Darwin, NT. If you are planning on a plane trip any time before your operation make sure to keep the eye mask, earplugs and the little bag they come in. All of this will come in handy when you are in hospital. The little bag is handy for keeping a small amount of cash just in case you want to buy that magazine the person with the gift trolley brings around or maybe to buy a raffle ticket or if you are feeling up to it, a small chocolate or sweet.
You wont have a lot of room to store anything, most likely a small cupboard beside your bed so try and take a small bag or pack. It is quite Ok to turn up with a plastic bag, you won’t be judged and it will come in handy.
You may also like to bring in your own water bottle or coffee cup.