A man carries a messenger bag as socks, floss, a toothbrush, deodorant, a laptop, and dice float overhead

What To Pack For Surgery And A Hospital Stay

I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014 and after many treatments, I was told that I was NED (no evidence of disease) in approximately 2019. Starting in 2022 we started watching a lymph node in my abdomen. It steadily increased in size, so I was given a few options.

First, I spoke with a radiation oncologist and second, I spoke with a surgeon. After some debate, I chose to have the lymph node removed via surgery. On August 31, 2022, I went in for surgery expecting to stay overnight for one night. There was a complication and I ended up being in the hospital for six nights. Here are a few things I wish I had packed for the hospital stay that would have made life just a little bit easier (and comfortable!).

What to prepare for a hospital stay?

Entertainment

First on my list is entertainment. I was stuck in the hospital bed and had to rely on the nurses and my family to get out of bed even just to go to the bathroom. I was connected to a box via a chest tube. I had my cell phone but for some reason when I am in the hospital I do not want to be on my phone. I suppose that is a personal choice. My mom and husband visited when they could, and they brought with their board games. We played Yahtzee a few times and a game called water works, which was a bit difficult to play on the small bedside tables. My friend suggested that I should have brought with me things to make my journals out of. It was also suggested to bring my laptop. I did have my husband bring my laptop towards the end of my stay and I was able to log in to Netflix and watch a few movies. I chose scary movies because with the chest tube in I could NOT laugh!

Comfort items

The second thing on my list would be things to make you comfortable. I had the hospital-issued socks. They worked but a nice pair of fluffy socks would have been divine! I had brought a comfort blanket with me but for some reason I had my mom take it with her home because I thought that I wasn’t staying too long. Looking back I would have kept it with me.

Self-care products

The last thing that I would make sure to have with me is a bag of toiletries. I brought my toothbrush with me. My sister always says that when you are in the hospital it is important to brush your teeth. It helps you from getting too sick and having to stay even longer. I would add to the bag face wipes, floss, and deodorant. The hospital will typically provide cleansing wipes to keep you clean even if you cannot shower.

When a one-night hospital stay turns into a six-night hospital stay, there are a few things that I am missing. What would be on your “must bring to the hospital” list? Let me know in the comments.

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