Whether you or your loved one has a chronic illness, it’s important to prepare for hospital stays. Despite my many visits to the emergency room, I’ve only had to stay in the hospital a few times. We keep a suitcase in the car full of essentials for an unexpected stay.
It’s hard to remember everything you need when you or your loved one is in a critical condition, so I suggest you keep your suitcase packed and in an easily reachable place so that you won’t forget anything when you rush to the ER.
- Sleep mask: I don’t mean the kind for facials. The hospital lights can be hard to block out, and if you’re like me, you’ll need it to be pitch black to fall asleep. Get one that forms around your nose so that you can have as much darkness as possible. Certain ones can transfer dye onto your pillow and face, and you can’t wash some, so be selective.
- Earplugs: I’m a very light sleeper, and I never know if someone down the hall will be screaming, so earplugs are a must-have for me. You can get them at any drugstore.
- Clorox wipes: Hospitals are a breeding ground for all sorts of germs. My mom and I often resort to pressing elevator buttons with our knuckles.
- Dry shampoo: You can never predict how long your stay will be, so the chances are your hair is going to get pretty gross. I recommend a scentless shampoo in powder form because aerosols aren’t allowed.
- Slippers: Believe me, you don’t want to go into a hospital restroom with bare feet, so bring something. Anything!
- Facial wipes: I like the Simple Kind To Skin cleansing facial wipes because they’re gentle on sensitive skin.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: Not every hospital gives these out.
- Change of clothes: It’s always good to pack at least one change of clothes. If your stay is longer than anticipated, you can always send someone home to get more for you.
- Charging cords: Your phone or tablet might be your only source of satisfactory entertainment during your hospital stay, so don’t forget those charging cords. If you need to buy extras just for your suitcase, do it. But remember, you’re there to rest.
- Medications: Odds are the nurses will only provide you with your daily prescription meds and, of course, whatever they are treating you with. So, it’s good to pack things like Motrin, Lactaid, throat lozenges, and sleep aids, etc.
- Deodorant: When you’re bedridden, you don’t exactly need an antiperspirant. Just keeping that area clean is enough. Deodorant wipes are perfect for freshening up.
- Something from home: I always find it comforting to bring an item from home to make my stay easier, whether it be a picture, stuffed animal, or my favorite pillow.
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