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Jim Blog

The Battle Pack

While being admitted to hospital urgently can be confusing, scary and dis-organised, being admitted for elective reasons gives the patient and parent days if not weeks to prepare. I suppose it’s a bit like going on holiday. You need clothes, entertainment, toiletries and a range of other things that you may not think of immediately. It does take some consideration. What is absolutely necessary? What would be nice to have? Do I really need that? It is pretty much the same for all age groups, just some items may differ. I call it my Battle Pack.

First of all, medication. Bring a copy of your full prescription ensuring that all current medication is on it along with the correct dose for all medicines. For me, this is the most important. I wouldn’t go to the airport without my passport, I don’t go to hospital without my full prescription. Bring all of the medication as well. It may seem a bit odd bringing medication itself, but it has bailed me out in the past. On occasion, especially in the first few days of admission, a medicine that you need may not be on the trolley and will have to be ordered from the pharmacy. In the meantime, you can use your own supply. However, never, ever, self-medicate. If there is a tablet missing from the trolley, give the nurse your supply and allow the nurse to dispense it to you or your child. The nurse will take a note of it, you should too. Both parents and patients must ensure that the nurse and only the nurse dispenses the medicine.

Clothing should be loose and comfortable. Pyjamas are grand for kids but for teens and adults, loose fitting trousers (track suit bottoms) and a t-shirt usually do the trick. Slippers (the bigger and fluffier the better!) are ok, but I prefer comfortable runners. Remember it’s all about comfort. Plenty of socks and underwear too. You won’t be in the gown all the time and short sleeves tend to be best. Let’s face it, there will be a cannula. If your arms are cold, as mine often are, a track suit top or fleece is great. Just be careful putting it on: BEWARE THE CANNULA !

Toiletries are very important. The hospital will supply some of the basics such as soap and towels, but there is nothing quite like your own. Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, talc, deodorant, hair products, sanitary products, razors. Whatever you normally use at home, it’s very important to keep a routine. Trying to replicate what you do at home in the hospital can be tricky but it is worth it as it focuses the mind and you always feel better after a shower. If you are not up for a wash, then baby wipes can be very handy. I also bring my own toilet paper because, let’s face it, the loo roll in the hospital is crap…and yes, the pun is intended! Don’t forget a box or pack of tissues.

Entertainment. This can be difficult because it’s usually a matter of what to leave out rather than what to include. The suitcase is starting to get quite full at this stage. Barbie, Paw Patrol, cuddly toy, colouring book and crayons. But enough about what I like! Days in hospital can be long and fun is a necessity for any age. I’m happy with a newspaper, radio and mobile phone. If you have your own room and your own tv then all the better. I was in a room with 5 other men on my last visit and it was wall – to – wall Monster Trucks, Tipping Point and Doctor Pimple Popper. Then, even though I was quite ill and had to be isolated, part of me was delighted. Every cloud…. In my experience, apart from infants, the younger the patient the more difficult to keep occupied. This was certainly the case for me.

A few other things include phone charger (and make sure you don’t leave it behind) earphones and for teens and adult patients, a small amount of money. You’d be amazed at the simple pleasure of going to the hospital shop for crisps, chocolate, a bottle of minerals or even just a newspaper. It’s strangely liberating.

Whatever I have written here, this is my Battle Pack. Yours may be quite different. If you are reading this on Facebook, please give your suggestions in the comments section below. I hope this has been of use.

Be Kind to Yourself.

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