I am currently on recovery for a laparoscopic surgery and was struggling to find information on what to bring to the hospital unless it’s for a pregnancy. Currently, it is still a global pandemic so I would not be allowed any visitors in the hospital except when I was dropped off and picked up.
I am not your doctor and none of this is medical advice. Please see your own doctor.
I am a chronic over-packer for vacations, but this really made me anxious because when you travel most of the time you can stop at a convenience store to get whatever you forgot, and there would be no way for me to get anything brought to the hospital – whatever I went there with is what I had.
Obviously the hospital would provide all my necessities such as food, a gown, and any medical supplies needed, but any comforts I would need to bring from home. I talked to the hospital pre-surgery planning department about some of the specifics of what I was allowed to bring and they were able to help a bit. Definitely start a list early to ask your hospital what their specific policies are.
I brought a lot of stuff I didn’t end up using, but some of it I’m glad I had just in case.
Clothes I Brought and Used:
- Coming home outfit (loose sweatpants, loose shirt and bra, slip on shoes, socks and coat)
Because of the multiple incision points on my belly, I needed to have a coming home outfit that did not put any pressure anywhere on my belly. If it is summer this could have been a dress, but it was a bit cold. I wouldn’t recommend shoes that you have to tie, and you probably won’t be able to bend down to tie them.
Clothes I Brought and Did Not Use:
- Sports bras
- Sleep shorts and shirts
I had an IV in my wrist, so even when I was cold my cardigans would have caused more discomfort and I would have just put more blankets on me. I was very cold after anesthesia but the hospital gave me warm blankets and heat packs to keep me warm. I could also turn up or down the heat in my room if I wanted to.
I ended up wearing the hospital gown and hospital grippy socks the whole time I was there. I thought I would want to wear my own clothes, but the gown is just so very convenient and especially since I couldn’t have visitors I was content with the gown.
I was only allowed to get out of bed and walk with the hospital grippy socks on, I suspect for liability reasons in case I fell, so bringing my own shoes and socks wasn’t useful.
I am very glad I bought the sleep shirts I did, as they were perfect for recovering at home. They were just not useful to bring to the hospital.
Self-Care Items I Brought and Used:
- Face wipes
- Face wash
- Face Lotion
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hand Lotion
- Glasses cleaning cloth
- Hair ties for keeping my hair in french braids
- Hair brush
On the first morning, I was helped upright and had to wash my face and upper body at a sink. This was very difficult to do since I had an IV in my left wrist and I am left handed. After that first morning I was more independent and just used face wipes as they were much easier to use one-handed. I was provided face/body wash, toothbrush and toothpaste and a lotion bottle, but I really liked being able to use my own from home instead.
I am very glad I double french braided my hair prior to surgery because it really saved my hair from turning into a crazy hairball. Laying on your back for a long surgery and not being able to sit up on your own will not do good things to your hair, so keeping it braided is very helpful.
Self-Care Items I Brought and Did Not Use:
- Shampoo and Conditioner
- Extra bobby pins
- Nail File and Clippers
- Dry Shampoo
- Mini Hand Sanitizer Bottles
I’m still glad I brought all these items because I could have needed them and just happened to not need them. Since they are all small items that easily fit my bag I do not regret bringing any of these items.
I was not able to shower at the hospital, but if I had to stay another day I would have insisted on it. I had surgery on Thursday, and left on Sunday afternoon. At my hospital, a doctor has to order a shower, you can’t just ask the nurse to take one.
Other/Entertainment Items I Brought and Used:
- Cell Phone and Charger with 8′ cable
This is a very short list, but honestly I was sleeping most of the time I was in the hospital. I am very glad I downloaded a couple episodes of a show and a movie before I went to the hospital because the wi-fi wasn’t fast enough to stream a show.
I mostly watched Instagram stories, or YouTube videos because on narcotics my attention span was very short and I would fall asleep watching anything longer than a few minutes long.
I didn’t bring my laptop because I thought it might be too heavy to lift up and I was very right. If possible, bring a tablet instead of a laptop because you will be very weak and have weight restrictions after surgery.
Other/Entertainment Items I Brought and Did Not Use:
- 2 Books
- iPad Charger
- Coloring pages/colored pencils
- Notebook and Pen
- Kindle and charger
I still think it was smart to bring the notebook and pen to take doctors’ notes, but I just called my husband or texted him what the doctor or nurse said as soon as anything happened. If visitors would have been allowed, he would have been there taking notes for me, so under normal circumstances this is still a good idea.
I am still glad I brought the iPad charger, but I just didn’t watch enough TV to require a charge. Everything takes so much longer to do so the days fly by and there isn’t that much time to spare. If I had enough energy to be awake, I would be walking the halls of the hospital to get my body and digestive system working again instead of watching TV. Otherwise I was eating, sleeping, doing self-care like brushing my teeth, or going to the bathroom. Life was very simple in hospital recovery.
Since I barely had the attention span to watch a TV show, I definitely didn’t have the attention span to read a book. I thought I would be so bored that I brought two (2!!) books to read and my kindle so I would have all the options I wanted. This was definitely not necessary, but I would still bring a book with me if I had to do this over again because that is just the kind of person I am.