What Is In My Hospital Bag: The Fun Stuff
Last updated: August 2021
In "What Is In My Hospital Bag – The Basics, Part 1" we discussed the bare minimum of what you would want to take in your hospital bag. Basically, the only thing we packed in that bag was clothes and undergarments. So now let's talk about the more "fun" and personal items that I normally pack in my hospital bag.
This category is going to vary greatly depending on the person. For me, this is a group that I tend to kind of skimp on. Personally, I don’t bring my skincare or makeup. But I do bring my favorite shampoo, body wash, body lotion, and deodorant. But I only bring travel-sized bottles. I do bring dry shampoo because we all know there are gonna be days when washing the hair just ain’t happening. I do keep a travel toothbrush and case and toothpaste in my bag at all times. That way no one brings me my good ultrasonic from home. I do try and switch these products out periodically because they do have expiration dates. Using travel-sized bottles frees up room in your bag for more important things. Remember this is just how I pack my bag.
You will always find a hairbrush and some variation of hair ties, headbands, and clips. I do try to remember to replenish these when I repack my bag when I get home. Otherwise the next time I’m in I am missing hair ties, and they are CRUCIAL. I always try to keep some sort of lip gloss or balm in my bag always. Not because I care what I look like. But because hospitals are SOOO dry and my lips always dry out.
Ladies, it is also important to keep pads or tampons in the bag because trust me as someone who knows from my years of work in the hospital. That the pads or tampons the hospital could provide are NOT comfortable. And they cost a fortune.
I know some ladies will also keep makeup, skincare, or razors in their bags. But for me, that just isn’t something I care about while I am hospitalized. No judgment if they do, but it just is not important to me.
To me, my comfort items are right up there with my clothes. So I always make sure that whoever brings my bag gets the pillow and blanket that sit on top of it. If you have ever been in the hospital even as a visitor it's obvious that hospital blankets are not known for their comfort. Hospital pillows might as well be pancakes. So I keep my favorite soft, cozy blanket and my "hospital pillow," the one that doesn't touch my bed even after it's washed, on top of my bag so they are ready to go. Some people might want a stuffed animal or something and that's fine. It is all about making you feel a little cozier while you're stuck in the hospital.
This is a category I don’t often focus on because most of my admissions are for Migraines. But I know for many this is a very important category. My advice to you, from an RN, is to only take things you know you can always keep an eye on. It doesn’t happen often, but things can, and do get stolen. When we were allowed visitors this wasn’t an issue because if you left for a test they could keep an eye on your things. But that isn’t the case in most places right now.
So if you are going to take a laptop to work, or an iPad to watch movies on, that's fine. But have a plan for what you will do with them should you have to leave the room. You can get small locks that will fit on most duffel bags. So if it's important to you to have these things with you you should look into how to protect them.
A few things that also fit into this category that are important and not as likely to get stolen would be an EXTRA LONG phone charger. Because those outlets are never in a spot that's close. As well as the long charger it will be important that you keep a box for the charger as well because the charger with the box is worthless.
Also, I would encourage you to bring headphones, air pods, or some way to listen to content on your phone quietly in case you have a roommate.
These are items that will vary greatly from person to person. From my own experiences, you might consider packing things like earplugs. In case you get that roommate who snores like Grandfather Bear. Or there is a patient on the unit with mental health issues who is very loud and screams at all hours of the night. For those with migraines, I always keep an extra pair of sunglasses in my bag in case I forget mine. You might also consider a puzzle book, magazine, or book to read in case you feel like doing those things.
Have there been things you have learned along your lupus journey that you wish had been explained to you by a healthcare provider earlier?