Dr Allan Hamilton, neurosurgeon and author of The Scalpel and the Soul, asserts that patients who maintain a sense of who they are fare better in hospital than those who do not. Making your hospital room into a piece of your own world helps to promote feelings of security and wellbeing. More importantly it helps the medical staff to connect with you as an individual rather than as just another inmate in a blue patterned surgical gown.
Here are some suggestions.
What to pack:
- Any medicines you are currently taking (show these to the admitting nurse when you arrive)
- Glasses or contact lenses
- Blu-Tack (to stick up all your cards)
- Organic room spray (to counter the smell of sanitising gel)
- Moisturiser, lip balm, body lotion, hand cream and rose water in a spray bottle (you will need a lot of moisturising and hydration. The rooms tend to be artificially heated or air conditioned and full of machinery, making the atmosphere very arid. A tip – put a saucer of water on the radiator to stop your skin drying out too much.)
- Lipstick (to cheer your face up)
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- A hairbrush
- Cashmere bed socks (to keep your feet warm)
- Mobile phone & charger (hospitals generally charge rip-off prices for phone calls)
- Eye mask Earplugs (it is always noisy and the nurses come in and out all night and all day)
- A light robe
- A cotton nightie cut up the back (this will save you the horror of having to wear a hideous hospital gown. Buy a large size cotton nightie, cut it up the back and attach some long ribbons that tie at the front to draw the open flaps together so that your bum doesn’t hang out.)
- A t-shirt and a pair of shorts
- A pashmina
- A snuggly pillow (the hospital pillows are lined with plastic)
- A photo of the people you love
- IPod loaded with happy music, relaxing music, guided meditations and audio books
- A portable computer (check if the hospital charge for internet access – this can also be a bit of a racket. If they do, it might be worth investing in a dongle from your mobile phone provider.)
- Notebook and pen
- Camera (you may think that this is one nightmare that you just want to forget but, sometime in the future, you may be glad that you kept a record of this time.)
- Nice teabags, soya milk or a pint of organic milk.
- A clock
- A small amount of cash to buy newspapers and sweets.
- Your health insurance details
- A pair of ridiculously high-heeled shoes (put them by the bed to remind you that it won’t always be like this.)
What to ask your friends and family to do:
- Everyone will bring flowers – there will never be enough vases, so ask them to bring vases too.
- You will be bombarded with chocolate and will soon feel sick. Ask friends to bring organic grapes and berries.
- Make you fresh juices and salads
- Bring mineral water in glass bottles
- Coordinate a visiting roster
- Read aloud to you
- Stick your cards up on the walls
- Rub your feet
- Be available to take you home when you are discharged
What not to take to the hospital:
- Tight, revealing or synthetic nightwear
- Credit cards
Do you have a top hospital tip? Please share it with the world.