In the UK, you can add:
- antibacterial spray & wipes (to clean thoroughly around the bed etc)
- hand cleaning gel
- if you're in a public hospital, lots of cash for the expensive cards that are needed to view television or make phone calls from the bedside
- probably a food parcel
- bottles of mineral water - easy to get dehydrated
- I could add a foreign language phrase book, but that would be politically incorrect
A toothpick....thats to keep one eye open at night so that some foreign halfwit so called "nurse" doesn't accidentally kill you by fiddling with your drips or electronic devices taht are keeping you alive....seriously (not about the toothpick, but about being aware that someone may accidentally try and kill you.....and don't laugh...a very senior cardiogist sat with his mother all day, and had his brother sit with her all night, and one more than one occasion prevented disaster. The day shifts and week day staff seem to be superb, but at night, weekends and public holidays its a lottery, agency nurses that have no idea, that should be deregistered, and can't get full time work for obvious reasons....nice, polite and try their best, but should limit their work to cleaning teh floors (which they don't do) and stay away from machines that go beep!....on more than one occasion, at night, I saved my own life. Once by googling the instructions to my temporary external pacemaker and on another occasion by politely saying, no no, please don't give me that bag of fluid as a bolus, its the potassium, you should be giving me normal saline, the potassium given quickly is lethal!...oh the joy of night shift. On one occasion I begged and negged a full-time nurse to stay back knowing who was coming on shift for the night, and THEY DID! They knew how poorly trained and inexperienced this staff member was, and somehw they got employed in the ICU...ahhhhhhh. So, the lesson here, get to know the full-time, experiened staff, they are not hard to work out, because they are efficient, confident and will readily tell you that they have been there for 10, or 15 years or more, and make sure they explain to YOU what needs to happen, so that at 3am in the moring when the 1 month foreign trained agency nurse tries to fiddle with thinsg that go beep, you can say, no no, please check with the otehr nurse, I don't think you should be adjusting my pacing rate by turning the milliamps down so low, if you do that my heart will slow down and I will die....to whcih she responded...."oh, silly me, I never did get used to adjusting these syrineg pumps"...It wasn't a syringe pump she was adjusting, it was my PACEMAKER. These experiences are not isolted. I am a trained health care professional, and am a very good patient, when in teh care of people whoknow what they are doing, and many nurses are absolutely superb, delightful, helpful and I owe some my life, but then there is the NIGHT....SHIFT.....ohhhh, the memories of night shift disasters....and that wasjust me, on more than one occasion I saved the life of someone in the next bed at night...so what do you need. actually you don't need much at all, because the less you have the faster you will want to get out, and hospitals are for sick people...with anew valve you will be on the mend so fast you are beter at home once things have settled down...seriously! One day I will write a book, because my experiences are certainly not isolated.