What to take to hospital

If your surgery involves a stay in hospital you’re probably wondering what to bring with you. Firstly, if you have people who will be visiting you while you’re there, don’t panic. You can always ask them to bring anything you’ve forgotten!

Here is a list of things I’d recommend taking, distilled from the experiences of many women who have had surgery. If you’re an organiser like me – or a forgetful person! – there is a downloadable version of this list with checkboxes to keep you on track.

Download the file here:
What to take to hospital – the checklist

The list

Nightshirt : you’ll have a hospital gown, but if your stay lasts more than a night it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to put on your own clothes, even if it is just a nightshirt! (A nightshirt has no waistband which is what makes it a good choice).

Chapstick : because there’s nothing more irritating than dry lips.

Phone and charger : your connection to the world. The internet is a *great* distraction, if you have a tablet that’s even better. Also you can download some music or podcasts on to your phone, these are a great way to pass the time without needing any energy.

Magazines : I’m an avid book reader but you’ll notice I didn’t put ‘books’ here. I discovered for the first couple of days after surgery my brain couldn’t focus for any length of time, and my eyes found it hard to focus on text on a page. The internet was fine, pictures were fine, so I’d recommend magazines over books!

Mints/throat lozenges : if you were intubated for any length of time you might find yourself with a sore throat, hence the lozenges. Mints are good to help settle the stomach, so if you’re feeling a bit nauseous at the idea of food having some mints on hand might help.

Small pillow : essential for when you leave hospital (put it between your stomach and the seat belt strap) it’s also handy to hold against your stomach if you need to sneeze or cough.

Slippers : they’ll have you up out of bed and walking pretty quickly, you might want some comfy slippers. I’d recommend slip-on style ones so you don’t need help getting them on and off.

Robe/dressing gown : it’s not great walking hospitl corridors in just a hospital gown, and it’s not even that great in just a nightshirt. A robe can be a nice comfort as well – I had a lovely red fleece one 🙂

Eyemask/earplugs/headphones : to block out the world! I’m a light sleeper so the earplugs shut out the hospital noise and the eyemask dealt with the light.

Toothbrush and toothpaste : just a great way to freshen up when you make it to the washroom!

Lotion : internal air can make my skin really dry, especially my hands. Get some unscented hand lotion just in case.

Small handheld fan : if you’re someone who can get too warm this could be a lifesaver! It’s all about being as comfortable as possible.

A soft toy/plushie friend : although friends and family visit, you are in hospital by yourself. When we were younger we had fluffy friends to keep us company and there’s nothing wrong with taking one with you to hospital.

Notebook or journal and pen : just in case. You might not want to write anything down, but then again you might want to jot down some things that happen, maybe keep a diary.


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