If having endometriosis has taught me one thing, it’s that it’s totally unpredictable. I have had numerous unplanned trips to the hospital in which I’ve been caught out and didn’t have anything with me that I needed. Over the last few years, I’ve kept a bag ready to be grabbed as I’m leaving or brought in later by a relative.
I recommend that you pack a bag to prepare for any impromptu hospital trips. Here’s what I keep in my “endometriosis hospital bag”:
The bag itself needs to be sturdy and a reasonable size. It’s also preferable to have one that is made of a wipeable material, as they can get dirty.
You don’t usually have much time to wash yourself in the hospital and, to be honest, who feels like making all that effort anyway? Pack the bare minimum to save time and space. Most toiletry items can be bought in miniature travel size bottles, but try to think sensibly and cut back where you can.
You cannot go without something to wash your face, body, and hair. You need a toothbrush and toothpaste.You also need things like lip balm, deodorant, and sanitary products. I pack a spare toothbrush in case a family member has to stay overnight at the hospital with me.
Instead of packing lots of separate items, buy things with dual usage. You can wash your face with shower gel. Try a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner instead of buying two separate bottles. I keep a single moisturizer in my hospital bag that can be used on both my body and face.
While on the ward, I wear nightwear. I keep a few changes in my bag in case my stay is longer than expected or they get dirty. One thing I’ve learned when it comes to nightwear in the hospital is that you’ll need something that isn’t too warm but covers you. You don’t want to be falling out of your top or have the person in the bed opposite peering up your nightdress all day long! You also have to remember that there will be visiting hours, and having a lot of people around while you are in your nightwear isn’t always pleasant! A short-sleeved top and pajama trousers are the best options. You could also pack a robe.
You’ll need a change of comfortable clothes for when you leave the hospital. I like to keep this really basic: a T-shirt and leggings are perfect. Finally, you will need plenty of comfortable underwear, socks to keep your feet warm, and a pair of slippers for walking the ward. Some people pack a pair of flip-flops to wear in the shower.
Medication and recent hospital notes
Obviously, these cannot be kept in your bag at all times. Keep any important health-related paperwork and medication in an easy-to-find location so you can grab them as you leave the house, or a family member can find them in your absence. However, it’s not essential to take hospital notes with you as everything should be on the hospital’s computer system.
Other items you might want to include
I like to keep a few plastic (reusable) bags in my hospital bag in case I have soiled clothes. Hospitals always provide towels, but you could pack one in your bag so it’s there when you need it. Pack a small amount of cash too. Some hospitals have access to Wi-Fi and bedside televisions, but sometimes they require a prepaid card. Some hospitals also have little carts going around each day that sell snacks and magazines. It’s helpful to keep cash in your bag in case any of your visitors need change for car parking or food, too. You could also keep snacks and a water bottle in your bag.
You can follow more of my journey over at www.emlwy.com.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.