Following several hospital admissions over the past two years, both emergency and scheduled, I realised that were a few things I could pack which would make my stay a little more comfortable. I also asked some fellow CHD patients “What items do you consider to be essential when packing your hospital bag?”
The first thing I always pack is my medical folder containing a thick wadge of medical letters and copies of recent ECG tracing. This is useful in many ways but, primarily it acts as a point of reference for the medics whilst they are trying to locate my medical notes – my local hospital has not yet migrated to electronic records. Whenever I’m away from home overnight I take my folder with me.
In advance of my recent ablation procedure, I purchased a few instant porridge pots that I could prepare and eat in the days following my procedure. I knew from my previous admission that during the procedure additional imaging from a transesophageal echo (heart scan) which is passed down the throat would be required. Previously the echo had remained there for over six hours and so I woke up after the anaesthetic wore off with a very sore throat. The soft texture of the porridge meant it was much easier for me to eat. If you are unable or refuse to eat for any length of time, the doctors will often consult a dietician. In serious cases they will insert a naso-gastric tube (very unpleasant) to ensure that you still receive adequate nutrition.
I love to read but I can never settle down to read a book when I'm in hospital. I'm not quite sure why but it may be because it's a very busy atmosphere and there are always machines alarming.
Other essentials to pack in your bag ahead of a hospital stay might be:
A couple of changes of pyjamas/night clothes and slippers
A couple of pairs of comfy trousers
Laptop/ipad/mobile phone (and don’t forget your charger(s)
Book/Kindle (and reading glasses if you need them)
Anti-bacterial wipes and tissues
Small amount of cash