what to take to the hospital - a checklist

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epstns

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Dec 26, 2002
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Chicago area
I didn't bring much, but then we live about half an hour from the hospital. My wife stayed at a hotel across the street from the hospital until I was out of the ICU. Once she was staying back at home she could bring whatever I needed the next day. Some things I asked for:
1. Internet enabled cell phone (didn't really want the computer)
2. Boxer shorts
3. Sox
5. My own personal care toiletries - toothbrush and toothpaste, hair brush, electric shaver (coumadin. . . )

We forgot the shampoo, so I had to use the hospital's industrial shampoo before I went home. Won't do that again.

I didn't want or need much. The first several days I was out of it enough to not want for anything. After that the nurses and docs kept me pretty busy with tests, therapy, walks and all. By night, I was tired enough to sleep, so I did (the meds helped, too).
 

djteako

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Jun 27, 2011
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Location
alberta , canada
2 weeks pre op , and just got out 2 1/2 weeks ago from a cath . Like most , I brought way too much to the cath , but I wasn't sure how long I was going to be in . If there was one thing I will bring with me for surgery , or have delivered post op , it fruit !!!!!! the hospital didn't really serve any , and I'm used to eating an apple , an orange , a banana , strawberries , carrots , a tomato , and ussually snap peas (all fresh) every day , so within 2 days of not having it , I was pretty "backed up" if you know what I mean .
The other thing I will be very greatful to have this round , is a companion . I live 3 hours away from the hospital , so for my cath , I didn't have any visitors . They also don't serve real coffee there , and having someone that can bring one in every day will be a godsend!!!!
 

Greg~

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Mar 1, 2012
Messages
103
Location
Apple Valley CA
In my case the hospital supplied all of the essentials - toiletries, lotion, lip balm, ear plugs, etc.
I'm glad I brought the following with me:
• Electronic gadgets - laptop, iPad, cell phone, blue tooth, earbuds or headset
• I have an external hard drive that I keep all of my movies on. So I used my laptop to watch DVD's
• Chargers for all of the gadgets
• Sweat pants. I found that wearing my sweat pants in combo with the fashionable hospital gown was a good match.
Lesson Learned:
I have acid reflux and use the generic for Prilosec (Omeprazole). The nurse I worked with prior to the surgery asked for my list of medications and told me to leave my meds at home since the hospital would supply those meds for me……WRONG. Once I was out of ICU and went to telemetry, they wanted me to eat and I was ready to dig in. When I asked for my acid medication I was told the hospital used a different brand and I can use that. We'll of course their brand did not work on me at all. Needless to say, I had my daughter drive my meds to me on her next visit. The nurses were really awesome and tried everything to get me what I needed. They just didn't have it.

So if you have any specific med that really work for you, I'd recommend taking them to the hospital with you. At least you'll have it if needed
 

selma

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Nov 9, 2011
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71
Location
Woodstock, NY
I haven't had my OHS yet but I recall from a previous abdominal surgery that I did a lot of scooting around the bed using my elbows to help turn, sit up, etc. The hospital sheets were HELL on my skin and the best gift someone brought me when they visited was hand cream for my dried out, chapped elbows. Whod'a thunk it?
 

tom in MO

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Jan 17, 2012
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MO USA
When it comes to prescriptions, I had the same problem. I use clarinex and the hospital pharmacy could not supply it. I also had mine brought in from home. They wanted to give me claritin, but that does not work for me as well as the sister drug clarinex.

For me also, the hospital provided everything, including pants to go with the gown, so the sweat pants I brought were not needed. The only things I used from home were my shaving equipment and my robe.
 

Mom2izzy

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Nov 25, 2011
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Michigan
I had all kinds of stuff with me, but the only things I actually used were my shorts (under the gown) and my iPad.
 

Ella4hubby

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Oct 15, 2012
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Montreal, Canada
Question about footwear in the hospital -- My husband is on call starting tomorrow (!) for OHS--apparently they'll give us 2 days notice...

Our niece, a nurse, who worked for awhile as in ICU, suggested packing "Crocs" rather than slippers. That way if your feet are swollen (some have mentioned this possibility), it's not such a problem putting them on. Plus if they get soiled you can simply wash them off and then you're good to go...

Anyone tried that?
 

Bina

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East Ontario, Canada
Question about footwear in the hospital -- My husband is on call starting tomorrow (!) for OHS--apparently they'll give us 2 days notice...

Our niece, a nurse, who worked for awhile as in ICU, suggested packing "Crocs" rather than slippers. That way if your feet are swollen (some have mentioned this possibility), it's not such a problem putting them on. Plus if they get soiled you can simply wash them off and then you're good to go...

Anyone tried that?
For me, the crocs would have been too heavy because I was so weak.
Pre-op I went to Walmart and bought some open back, flat, rubber soled, slip on slippers. Very lightweight ones.
When leaving the hospital, I popped them into a plastic bag and then at home threw them into the washing machine.
Do what works for you :)
 

Lynlw

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Jul 15, 2005
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NJ
Question about footwear in the hospital -- My husband is on call starting tomorrow (!) for OHS--apparently they'll give us 2 days notice...

Our niece, a nurse, who worked for awhile as in ICU, suggested packing "Crocs" rather than slippers. That way if your feet are swollen (some have mentioned this possibility), it's not such a problem putting them on. Plus if they get soiled you can simply wash them off and then you're good to go...

Anyone tried that?
Justin prefers something like the slip on sheepskin slippers that he could wear indoors and then wear home
 

ramjet

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Jun 24, 2012
Messages
74
Location
Brisbane, Australia
In the UK, you can add:
- antibacterial spray & wipes (to clean thoroughly around the bed etc) :eek:
- 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.
 

ramjet

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Joined
Jun 24, 2012
Messages
74
Location
Brisbane, Australia
Question about footwear in the hospital -- My husband is on call starting tomorrow (!) for OHS--apparently they'll give us 2 days notice...

Our niece, a nurse, who worked for awhile as in ICU, suggested packing "Crocs" rather than slippers. That way if your feet are swollen (some have mentioned this possibility), it's not such a problem putting them on. Plus if they get soiled you can simply wash them off and then you're good to go...

Anyone tried that?
I guess it doesn't matter, so long as you have some footwear that you can slip on and off without bending down to put them on. You need to be able to step into them, and just slip your feet out of them without using your hands. You won't be able to bend down easily for a little bit, and if you do you might just get dizzy and fall down, so my slip on slippers were just magic for me, but it was winter so the floor was cool, but then again some hospitals ar ecool all year round thanks to the air con. I slept in my gown and dressing gown and had some blankets on a couple of nights....not just because the aircon in the hospital was cool, but also because my thermnoregulation wasout of whack due to the general anasthesia and drugs and the operation etc etc. The klast thin you want after heart surgery is a cold or the flu or a persistant cough or sneeze....I limited visitors as it was during winter and to catch a bug could be lethal, let alone bust my chest back open, and the pain of coughing is really bad if you arn'teady for the cough.....when coughing you will need to brace your chest with a pillow, or if a pillow is not handy, then just "hug yourself" with your arms tightly so you haev effectively "splinted" your sternum or chest wound...but the good experienced nurses will explain all that to you....some of the night shift nurses will just look at you with a friendly smile but not have a clue what you are talking about....its not their fault, its just they should not emply inexperiened staff in the ICU or the cardiac ward, or anywhere in a hospital for that matter...slippers, crocs, whever is comfortable and easy to get on and off. Take a toothbrush (in a toilietries bag) and remember that things get stolen in hospital so be careful what you take. I would take a family memeber to sit with me and guard me from the dreaded night shift and weekend casual staff who seem to always miss out on the extra training and edcuation sessions and don't know what they are doing :)
 

ramjet

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Joined
Jun 24, 2012
Messages
74
Location
Brisbane, Australia
For me, the crocs would have been too heavy because I was so weak.
Pre-op I went to Walmart and bought some open back, flat, rubber soled, slip on slippers. Very lightweight ones.
When leaving the hospital, I popped them into a plastic bag and then at home threw them into the washing machine.
Do what works for you :)
I agree, in fact I purchased some light, cheap sli on type open back slippers and thew them in the bin when I left hospital, they were nice and light and easy to put on. Remember you will likely be up and walking on the afternoon or the next day after surgery, not any races but moving hopefully, and shortly after you will be doing laps of the ward pusing a drip pole and holding a piloow (in case you cough), so light slippers make it easy thats for sure. I also liked having some coins so I could buy the daily paper as well. Anyway, hopefully you will have some family or friends who visit and they will oly be too happy to bring anything else you might discover you need.
 

ramjet

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Joined
Jun 24, 2012
Messages
74
Location
Brisbane, Australia
2 weeks pre op , and just got out 2 1/2 weeks ago from a cath . Like most , I brought way too much to the cath , but I wasn't sure how long I was going to be in . If there was one thing I will bring with me for surgery , or have delivered post op , it fruit !!!!!! the hospital didn't really serve any , and I'm used to eating an apple , an orange , a banana , strawberries , carrots , a tomato , and ussually snap peas (all fresh) every day , so within 2 days of not having it , I was pretty "backed up" if you know what I mean .
The other thing I will be very greatful to have this round , is a companion . I live 3 hours away from the hospital , so for my cath , I didn't have any visitors . They also don't serve real coffee there , and having someone that can bring one in every day will be a godsend!!!!
Just go easy on the coffe with heart surgery...caffine is a stimulant and can indeed precipitate atrial fibrillation etc, and you don't want that, so do go easy on the coffee, and anything with caffine.
 

anutherbuddy

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Joined
May 31, 2012
Messages
43
Location
San Antonio, Texas BAMC/SAMMC
Someone awhile back suggested having some treats for the staff. I made a huge batch of cookies and took a gallon sized bag to the hospital - left them in my husband's ICU room before he was even transferred there and told the nurse that came out of surgery every now and then to give us an update, that they were there and for all to share. Everyone was so thrilled and the gesture went far in creating "good vibes" among the staff. They may have been attentive and nice anyway, but it made me feel better to have something to do while we waited and I felt like my husband was watched a bit more carefully when he got into ICU, too. Also, a few days later one of our friends gave us a tray of muffins and cookies - way too much for us to eat. We shared those, as well.
 

Ella4hubby

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Joined
Oct 15, 2012
Messages
55
Location
Montreal, Canada
Thanks for the ideas on footwear...already got some Crocs...and my husband has some fleece lined slippers he really likes--not open backed but even now he puts them on without reaching down, just bangs his feet in...not sure how that will work post surgery...we shall see...
 

ski girl

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Sep 14, 2010
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Location
Perth, Western Australia
I may just be blessed with flexible hips, but I had no issues getting my running shoes on (bring foot to arm, instead of reaching with arm to foot) and being in 'normal' instead of 'sick person' clothes and shoes did wonders for my morale! Might work for your husband too.
 

Ella4hubby

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Joined
Oct 15, 2012
Messages
55
Location
Montreal, Canada
I may just be blessed with flexible hips, but I had no issues getting my running shoes on (bring foot to arm, instead of reaching with arm to foot) and being in 'normal' instead of 'sick person' clothes and shoes did wonders for my morale! Might work for your husband too.
Thanks ski girl...great idea that of bringing shoes/footwear up rather than reaching down...and yes I imagine being dressed more normally could perk a person up. Great suggestions!
 

Heart Of The Sunrise

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Nov 12, 2012
Messages
411
Location
Garnet Valley, Pa. USA
ISIS; I see you are going on five years with the ON-X valve. I think it is the prefered valve of my surgeon who I have yet to meet.
I assume you get used to the sound of it. Is it very loud to you?
 

Pat J

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Joined
Nov 19, 2012
Messages
45
Location
Valley Lee MD
My Facebook friends suggested:
1. audio books and player
2. pillow
3. blanket
4. ipod and ear phones
5. eye mask
6. flash light
7. treats for nurses
8. hand sanitizer
9. wipes
10. tissues
11. lotion
12. socks with rubber on the bottom
13. slippers
14. something to wear home
15. PJs with button fronts
16. Pj bottoms
17. canvas tote
18. pix of pups
19. good attitude
20. reading materials
21. crossword puzzles
22. snacks for family
 

katm

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Joined
Nov 15, 2012
Messages
79
Location
U OF M
my surgery was on the 7th of January. From my two bags I brought with me, I used underwear, pj bottems, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, my own pillow, my Iphone and thats about it. lol They gave me slipper socks, they wouldnt let me shower but I did wash my hair in the sink so I did use my hairdryer once. I never read or listened to music, although if that help soothes you especially when you want to sleep do bring it. My husband brought me treats on his daily walks around the hospital. Its funny, although its usually only 4 to 6 days stay and while you are there it seems long but it really goes by fast. I cant remember what I did during the day. Good luck to you
 
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