If I know that I will be staying overnight with my son, Zion (who has medical complications), at the hospital for two weeks (or even two months!), I always make sure I pack a few “must-haves” for myself:
- My own pillow and blanket. I like bringing a fuzzy throw blanket so it doesn’t take up too much space during the day. I always use a pillow cover the hospital provides, that way you don’t have to worry about finding a way to wash your own.
- BOOKS. If you have a Kindle, then that’s a bonus! I don’t like to read anything too heavy or depressing when I’m in the hospital, so I usually read light fiction or biographies.
- A small candle or an oil diffuser – if it’s allowed in the hospital. It’s amazing what a change of scent can do to brighten a room… And a mood!
- Dry shampoo and a refreshing facial spray mist. Both are a fantastic pick-me-up when you are feeling crummy and don’t have time during the day to shower or wash your face. My favorite face mist is by Mario Badescu and it’s made with aloe, herbs, and rosewater.
- Comfy slippers or socks. I’m always up lots in the night with Zion and usually have to run to the kitchen a few times.
- PRO TIP: Pack clothes that are comfortable, but not frumpy. I personally can’t handle wearing sweatshirts or sweatpants around the hospital anymore, unless it’s at bedtime. Having outfits that make me feel like I look good while still feeling practical makes a world of a difference (loose shirts, oversized knits, boyfriend jeans – all winners!).
- A “splurge” item. I like to have one item that is a bit more expensive but also makes me feel good about myself during hospital stays. Maybe a shampoo that is nicer than the ones I normally buy, a new perfume (if I’m in a place that allows perfume), a simple necklace or a fresh set of underwear. Having an item or two like this makes me look forward to getting ready each day and makes me feel special. (A “splurge” item is also a great gift idea for others in the hospital!)
- A good water bottle, hand lotion, and face lotion. Hospitals are crazy dry, so hydration makes a difference.
- Room decorations. If we’re in the hospital long term I like to bring a few things to make it feel cozy, like battery-powered fairy lights to put up on Zion’s bed, or printed pictures to put on the wall. You could get paper and markers to make little signs to celebrate victories along the way. Even something for visitors to sign as a memory later on is a good idea. I always feel more comfortable when there’s a touch of home in our room.
- A sound machine or portable speaker and a sleep eye mask. Maybe it’s because Zion is still little, but he can’t sleep without his non-stop sound machine. But I find it helps calm him (okay, and maybe me!) with all of the strange hospital sounds in the night. IV pumps, hallway alarms, and hearing the nurses chat can all be major sleep disruptors! A sleep eye mask is great to have on hand. I only use mine every once in a while, like when we’re in a room that has bright windows or if we are sharing the room with another patient.
- A good Spotify playlist! I like to create a peaceful mood in our room, so right now I’m loving instrumental music! Current Spotify favorites are ‘Piano In The Backdrop’, ‘A Soft Backdrop’, ‘Jazzy Dinner,’ and ‘Hillsong Lullaby.’
- A box of my favorite teas and a thermos mug is a must, because the cups supplied are micro and the selection is usually not the best. I have a friend who loves to bring Starbucks instant coffee for when she can’t leave the room to grab a coffee in the mornings!
– Chelsea Watkins, Springible Contributor