Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Hospital Bag (a Tangent)

I'm in hospital. Again.

Actually, I'm not just in hospital, but in my usual bed on my usual ward, and all the nurses are pleased to see me. I'm grateful for the welcome, but there's still a part of me that feels ashamed and saddened to be recognised as a regular in my local hospital.

One of the things that has made a huge difference to my quality of life despite the frequent (and sometimes lengthy) hospital admissions has been having a Hospital Bag.

This baby lives in the corner of our bedroom - forgotten, but still providing quiet comfort that I will have everything I need for the next admission. It takes away all the anxiety of having to try to ask someone else to gather up the necessary things in an emergency, and allows me a few creature comforts in addition to the usual basics.

So let's take a look inside!

What you see here is enough to keep me going in hospital for ten days. Everything lives in the bag, and it stays packed in this order so that other people can find things for me if necessary.

Can you tell that I like spots?

I'll give you a full contents list at the end of this post, but for now, let's take a look at some more pictures!

Clothes: The pile on the left is pyjamas, t-shirts in the middle, and trousers on the right.

All the clothes are light, because hospitals always seem to be excessively warm. The t-shirts have short sleeves for easy blood pressure measurements and easy access to IV lines.

Two pairs of the trousers are light yoga trousers and the third pair is denim. I do love my jeans, though they're not as comfortable as the yoga trousers for lounging around in hospital. The yoga trousers are easily rolled up to expose knees and ankles for physiotherapy.

Most of the rest of the bag is taken up with medical kit. I like to have my own alcohol gel, peak flow meter, oxygen saturation monitor and blood glucose meter. The boxes above the peak flow meter contain medication that isn't commonly used (I have an allergy to Salbutamol/Albuterol) - I can't take the alternative, so I like to have a good supply with me.

The pink spotty bag contains a few doses of all my other medications and a list of what I take, the dose, and the frequency.

The green spotty bag is just a wash bag.

The little extras include a salt grinder (I like my food salty, and need to eat lots of salt to keep my blood pressure up), scented body lotion, plastic bags for dirty laundry, and a couple of lipsticks! I used to carry a notepad and pen, but recently I have just been typing everything straight into my iPhone.

So there you have it.

Enough underwear for 10 days
6 t-shirts with short sleeves
2 pairs yoga trousers, 1 pair jeans
Supplies of regular medications, along with a list of names, doses and frequencies
Wash bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shampoo, comb, deodorant, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick)
Monitoring equipment: peak flow meter, sats probe, blood glucose meter
Alcohol gel and wipes
Scented body lotion, lip balm
Food: I always carry salt, and sometimes also have saltine crackers, nutrition bars, mints, ginger chews and glucose tablets. I know some people who bring tomato ketchup and tabasco sauce!
Plastic bags - I can't emphasise enough how useful these are!
Netbook, headphones, power cable, phone charger, kindle and charger (sometimes my DS too)
Earplugs, Sunglasses (in case of migraine), eye mask

Look out for a post tomorrow about the best things to take if you're visiting a friend in hospital (especially if that friend is me)!

This post was written as part of NHBPM - 30 health posts in 30 days:

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