WTF Is In My Hospital Bag?
After months of waiting for my laparoscopy to be rescheduled the time has arrived for me to pack my hospital bag (since posting, I have since had my 2nd laparoscopy, in October 2020). I confess that I mentally started to pack my bag when my surgery date came through but that's because I get a strange satisfaction for having things prepared. I won't waste your time by going on about the essentials like toothpaste and a phone charger but instead will focus on things to make your stay in hospital a little more tolerable.
So WTF is in my hospital bag?
A nightie/night dress: Whilst I usually prefer a pyjama set, I've found that wearing a nightie makes life that little bit easier, especially when having to navigate going to the bathroom because you don't have the pain of having to bend down to pull down your pyjama bottoms. With any sort of gynaecological surgery there's usually a period of time when you're naked from the waist down and a nightie provides more modesty that a hospital gown or a pyjama top alone.
A dressing gown: Keeps you warm if you need to get out of bed as well as providing you with more modesty than a hospital gown.
Fluffy socks: Hospitals can be cold and there's nothing worse than having cold feet! Having a lovely fluffy pair of socks means you can wear them in bed over the sexy compression stockings and if you get a pair of anti-slip ones, they can double up as slippers if you need to get out of bed.
A good book: Something you've read before and love or perhaps something brand new... Either way, having a good book can help pass the time prior to your surgery and after when you're recovering.
Baby wipes: The likelihood is that after surgery you're going to feel exhausted, in pain and won't be allowed to shower for the next 24 to 48 hours even if you wanted to. Baby wipes are a happy medium as you can use them to freshen yourself up without too much effort and they're good at removing any residue from dressings too.
Breath mints/chewing gum: Just to make you feel fresher, especially if you have the dreaded shoulder ache from your surgery and can't raise your arm well enough to physically brush your teeth.
Sanitary towels: Whilst we endo warriors are no stranger to blood, I think it's safe to say that you'll encounter it after a laparoscopy. Depending on where the endometriosis is removed from, you could end up passing blood from your uterus. After my first lap, I woke up to find the hospital equivalent of a puppy pad underneath me and wished I had brought sanitary towels. This time round I'll definitely have one in my underwear as soon as possible, especially for the journey home.
An extra long phone cable: Hospital plug sockets are a nightmare and there's nothing worse than not being able to reach your phone because it's charging two metres away from you. I highly recommend getting yourself an extra long phone cable as it's a cheaper alternative to buying a portable charger.
Ear plugs: Hospitals are noisy places and recovery is so much quicker when you're able to sleep well. Some hospitals might not let you use ear plugs in but in my experience even sleeping with just one in has made a huge difference to my quality of sleep.
High-waisted cotton underwear: With the location of the incisions primarily being on your lower abdomen, I found that any underwear that sat on my hips rubbed against the wounds and irritated them. I've found that high-waisted underwear prevents this from happening and just makes life a little bit more comfortable while you're healing.
A pillow: Your stomach will be sore and tender after a laparoscopy and you'll want to do anything to not make it worse. For this reason I suggest taking a pillow with you for the journey home, you can place it across your lap and it'll prevent your seat belt from digging in.
Laxatives: When I had my first laparoscopy I made the mistake of not taking the laxatives that were offered to me afterwards. Any opiate based medication (morphine, codeine, etc.) can make you incredibly constipated so I now always make sure I have them in my hospital bag just in case I'm not provided with them.
As I said above, this list doesn't include toiletries, clean clothing, etc. but I hope that it is useful for if/when you have a laparoscopic (or any gynaecological) surgery.