15 Surprising Things You’ll Want to Pack for the Hospital
So here’s the thing - I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the hospital. Like a lot! All the way from the time I was a kid and experienced my first hospitalizations due to Crohn’s disease, up until my most recent hospitalization just a few weeks ago. The longest hospitalization I’ve had to endure was 6 months straight where I had 2 emergency surgeries, received blood transfusions, and had many complications resulting in spending a few times in the ICU.
Because of all the time I’ve spent in the hospital I have learned that there are some things that I just can’t go without bringing to the hospital with me. This list is not full of the obvious things, like things to keep you occupied (books, magazines, crosswords) or your phone charger, rather it’s full of things you might not even think about packing for the hospital that actually come in quite handy.
My Surprising Hospital Must Have’s!
1. Toilet Paper: A must! It amazes me that hospitals have such terrible toilet paper. Unless you enjoy having IBD and wiping yourself with scratchy single ply toilet paper then I suggest you bring your favorite kind from home. If I could only pack one thing off of this list then toilet paper might be it. Seriously, hospital TP sucks!
2. Wet wipes: They can be used for their intended purpose but you can also use them during your stay for other things like wiping things up or even to wipe yourself down if you’re feeling really awful and can’t manage to shower. It’s a simple way to freshen up.
3. Pajama pants/shorts: I am a female who’s weight never goes much above 110 pounds and that is when I am at my heaviest. Usually when I am in the hospital my weight ranges from the low 80′s - 105 pounds. Hospital gowns are HUGE on my body and also very uncomfortable and revealing. I almost never wear them unless I have to for a surgery or certain procedure. I like to have pajama pants or shorts and a tank top.
4. T-shirts or tank tops: You’ll need to wear shirts that allow access to your arms because you will most likely have an IV. I prefer tank tops because I am in the hospital with fevers often and I also get night sweats so clothing that keeps me cool is preferred.
5. Sports bra with no metal: They will make you take off any clothing that has metal in it like an underwire bra or one that has metal clasps or strap adjusters so having one without them will mean that you won’t have to take it off to get x-rays or CT scans. My typical hospital outfit consists of pajama shorts, a tank top, and a sports bra.
6. Lip balm: You’d be surprised how dry the air in the hospital is. My lips always get really chapped during my stays so chapstick is one of my must-have’s.
7. Lotion: As I mentioned above, the hospital is really dry! My skin starts flaking while I am there and having lotion helps prevent that and soothe my dry skin.
8: Nail clippers/file: My nails grow fast and it gets really annoying when I want to cut them and I can’t so I like to bring my nail clippers and a file.
9. Eye Mask: This will help you relax and hopefully get more rest. It’s also really useful when you have a roommate who has little regard for you and keeps the light on when you want to sleep.
10. Ear plugs: I’ve dealt with some really awful hospital roommates who keep their TV up loud and invite guests who talk loudly or who talk loudly themselves. Ear plugs help silence annoying roomies and beeping IV pumps.
11. Throat Lozenges: These are on my list of surprising must-have’s because my throat gets really dry and sore in the hospital, especially if I have an NG tube in.
12. Laundry bag: Bringing some sort of bag that you can put your dirty clothes in is quite helpful at keeping them separate from your clean clothes. I’ve had my fair share of accidents in the hospital and being able to put those clothes in a separate place was mighty useful.
13. Ziploc bags: I have a facial piercing and I have to take the jewelry out for certain procedures or during surgery. I use Ziploc bags to keep the jewelry in and they have also come in very handy for other things at times. Trust me, you’ll find a use for them!
14. Feminine Hygiene Products: I feel like I sound 80 years old saying “feminine hygiene products.” Haha! Anyway, if you own a uterus and have periods then a must have for the hospital is to pack pads and/or tampons (or whatever else you might use to manage your period) unless you enjoy sitting on the brick that they try and pass off as a pad. For some reason my health and surgeries throw my cycle off and I end up having periods when I least expect it so having something to manage that prevents me from having to use the hospitals products. If you’ve ever had to use a pad from the hospital in combination with their “underwear” you’ll learn to never make the mistake of not bringing your own again.
Bonus: I have gone through times in the hospital, especially after surgeries, where I would experience more accidents or stool leakage than normal. Pads also come in very handy for handling night time leakage. #noshameinmygame
15. Underwear: This might be an obvious one, but I’m putting it here just-in-case because trust me, you do not want to use the hospital underwear!
Other things I bring that are probably more obvious: Dry shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste (hospital toothpaste is gross!), face wash, my own pillow and blanket, hair brush, socks, ponytail holders, and shampoo and conditioner.
I hope these suggestions help you out. Have you found things that you recommend patients bring to the hospital with them? What do you like to have with you for your inpatient stays? Comment below because I'd love to hear your suggestions!
What type of IBD have you been diagnosed with?