8 Essential Items for Long Hospital Stays

As someone who is in the hospital three to four times a year, I've found that there are a few things I need to create a comfortable environment. I love to look online and see what other people with CF bring to the hospital, so hopefully, my list will give you a few ideas for your next stay.

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Anna McVey-Tyson
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Frequent hospital stays are an unfortunate reality for many of us living with cystic fibrosis. And, if you're weird like me, you like to have a checklist of all the things you take with you to the hospital. I have even Googled “checklist for CF hospitalization” before, but the only things that came up in the search results were for pregnant women. That can be very helpful if you're pregnant, but unfortunately, it's not quite as relevant for the rest of us.

So, why does this matter to me? Why do I need to have a checklist for hospital stays, especially when I'm so accustomed to going to the hospital three to four times a year? Why would I search for “checklist for CF hospitalization” on the internet? Maybe I'm the only crazy person who does that. But honestly, I like to see what others find important to take to the hospital, as it may make me think, “That's a great idea! I want to remember to take that to the hospital the next time I have to go.” 

For example, I know that one woman likes to take fairy lights to hang up in her hospital room to make it feel homier and less sterile. After all, the hospital becomes our home for the two or so weeks that we have to be there. You might as well try to make it as comfortable as possible.

That's the main reason why I've searched for a hospital checklist online; I want to know how other people make their temporary homes more comfortable.

On the off chance that there IS someone else out there who searches online for this too, I wanted to create a hospital checklist for the CFer. This is my personal checklist and it will be different from what others consider to be necessary for a comfortable environment. But maybe, just maybe, you'll find something interesting for your next hospital stay. 

Obviously, I list the basics: deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, clothes, etc. Then, there's the fun stuff.

  1. Decorations: I'm actually in the hospital as I write this and it's Christmas season. I love Christmas. I mean, I LOVE it! So, I like to take Christmas decorations with me to spruce up the room or, at the very least, take a Christmas project with me to do during downtime. For example, I am working on some Christmas cards and stockings while I'm here. I brought CommandTM Strips with me to hang up the stockings once I'm done working on them. I also have a very nice little tree and a Santa hat sitting on my windowsill.
  2. Skincare: I love skincare. I was once an esthetician in a past life (the person that does facials in spas), so skincare is important to me. I make sure to take my plethora of skincare products with me: cleansers (yes, I use more than one kind), facial mask, serum, moisturizer, etc. I hate not having them with me. I forgot to pack them for one hospitalization, and I thought I was going to go crazy.
  3. Bedding: Now, I don't bring all of my own bedding. I just bring my favorite pillow, silk pillowcase, and my favorite blanket. I guess you could say that I'm pretty extra with my silk pillow case, but it's so comfortable. The hospital sheets are scratchy, and I like to have at least one soft thing to lay my head on. Also, my favorite blanket is one that I've had since high school. I've been bringing it to the hospital with me for 16 years. It's my literal security blanket.
  4. Laptop My laptop is EVERYTHING to me. I work from home, so my computer is the main device that I use for work. I use it to keep in contact with my colleagues, manage my employer's blog, advertise on social media, and conduct virtual meetings so that I can continue to work while I'm locked in my hospital room. I also use it to socialize with friends. In fact, I just had a book club meeting last night with some CF friends online. I keep in contact with my family, especially my kids, and long-distance friends via Skype or FaceTime. Needless to say, my laptop is a vital tool for me. If I left it at home, it would be really hard to do everything without it.
  5. Books: Physical books, e-books … it doesn't matter the format; I just enjoy reading a good story. A good story takes me to other places and gives me a vacation from my hospital room for a while. I can forget that I'm stuck in a room because the book acts like a passport to another place.
  6. Tennis shoesExercise is important to keep my lungs healthy, so I bring my tennis shoes with me to work out in. It doesn't have to be intense exercise; I just prefer to wear comfortable shoes, even if I'm only walking the halls of the hospital. And, having them with me motivates me to get out of bed and get some exercise into my day.
  7. Photos of my kids: I like to stay in touch with my kids when I'm hospitalized, and I like it even better when they can come to visit. However, they can't come see me every day. I make sure that I bring photos of them every time I'm in the hospital. Of course, I have pictures on my phone, but there's something nice about having physical photos of them. They seem more real to me somehow than when I just look at digital photos.
  8. Money for coffee: You could possibly call me a coffee snob and coffee from the hospital cafeteria just doesn't cut it. My hospital has a coffee shop downstairs and, while it's best if I don't go to it every day, purchasing a cafe breve latte a few times during my hospitalization makes it a bit easier.

This is my checklist of hospital necessities: the things I need to create a comfortable environment in the hospital. What does your checklist include?

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Topics
Adult Care | Hospitalization
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Anna has a Bachelor of Science degree in Patient Advocacy. She also volunteers her time at National Jewish Health as the chair of the Patient Advisory Council and as the patient representative for the CF Quality Improvement Team. She also participates in the Foundation's Community Voice. When she isn't spending her time at National Jewish or the CF Foundation, she's drinking coffee, building relationships, and spending time with her two kids, Lily and Liam.

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