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6 Essential Items I Pack in My Hospital Bag

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Oh! It’s so hard to stay upbeat. It’s so hard being positive when your chronic illness really sucks! Day in and day out, some good days, some days not good at all.

Occasionally, I lose the plot. Then I get down and frustrated. It think it happens to everyone who lives with chronic illness. After my most recent visit to the hospital for an overnight stay, I thought I might just try to find some humor wherever I can!


Now hospital visits usually happen without any planning. We are living in a tiny home so I don’t have lots of storage space. So I don’t have a pre-packed hospital bag in readiness. But I am now going to prepare a list to make it a bit easier for my husband. My brain is usually in “high brain fog” state when I get admitted, so my communication skills sometimes go a bit awry.

My husband empties out my swimming bag and puts in what I need for the hospital. This last time, I found some interesting things still in my bag when I was packing up to come home: my goggles, my swimming cap, my nose clamp thing… Luckily, my pull buoy wasn’t still tucked in the bottom of the bag. But, I did find my supply of almonds that live in my bag to eat after a long swim.

Here are some of the things I have discovered are essentials to include. They needed to be added to the usual toiletries, PJs, slippers, dressing gown, iPad, phone, book, charger etc. I also need:

1. My fluorescent swimming ear plug putty. Hospitals are so noisy and the snoring of roommates can rapidly destroy your equanimity.

When I was placed into a mixed ward I would have found these useful for blocking out the gas noises from my male roommates, and the sound of the urine bottles being filled up in the middle of the night.

2. Flip-flops. The last two hospital stays have been interesting in the shared bathrooms. I want my waterproof flip-flops for protection.

3. Fruit, mandarins, some tiny tomatoes and some nuts. There’s often not food I can eat. So I am now going to take a packed lunch with an ice pack.

5. A pick-up extender arm. I can never reach the cabinet or all the things I need from my bed. I am not always in a “get-out-of-bed-able” state.

6. A sleep mask! Curtains don’t always close, lights in hallways are always on… The less I see at night, the better! I am going to make a new pair with a set of big cat eyes on the outer surface in glow-in-the-dark fabric!

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Thinkstock photo via DAJ.

Originally published: September 5, 2017
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