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Whether you or your loved one is the one going in or staying in the hospital it's important to be prepared. I know some parents (including my own) who would have loved something like this to get through. Despite my many visits to the emergency room I've only had to stay in the hospital a few times. We keep a suitcase in the car full of essentials for a fool proof hospital stay. My mom also keeps a bright red notebook full of diagnostic paperwork, doctor's contact info and medication lists. I'll do a separate blog post all about how to stay organized for doctor's appointments. I know from experience that it's hard to remember everything you need when you or your loved one is in critical condition so I suggest you find a good place to keep your suitcase so that you will remember it if and when you need to rush off to the ER.

  • SLEEP MASK don't mean the kind for facials. The hospital lights can be hard to block out and if you're like me  you need it to be pitch black to fall asleep. Get one that forms around your nose so that you can have as much darkness as possible. Certain ones can transfer dye on to your pillow and/or face and some of them can't be washed so be selective when choosing the right one. This one will meet all your needs.      
  • EAR PLUGS Im a very light sleeper and you never know when someone is screaming down the hall so these are a must have for me.  You can get them at any drugstore. 
  • CLOROX WIPES Hospitals are a breeding ground for all sorts of germs and not every single surface can be cleaned after someone touches something. My mom and I can even be found pressing elevator buttons with our knuckles. 
  • DRY SHAMPOO You can never predict how long your stay will be and so chances are your hair is going to get pretty gross. I recommend a scentless one in powder form because aerosols aren't allowed. The one from One Love Organics is great because it's scentless and the travel size lasts forever. It's also vegan and cruelty-free. Which is always a plus. 

  • SLIPPERS Believe me, you don't want to go into a hospital restroom with bare feet so bring something. Anything!
  • FACIAL WIPES I personally like the Simple kind to skin cleansing facial wipes because they're gentle on sensitive skin.                             
  • TOOTHBRUSH + TOTHPASTE Hospitals used to give these out but I don't think they do anymore and you never know which hospitals will. 
  • CHANGE OF CLOTHES It's always good to pack at least one change of clothes. If your stay is longer than anticipated you can always send someone home to get more for you
  • CHARGING CORDS Your phone and/or tablet might be your only source of satisfactory entertainment so, don't forget those charging cords. If you need to buy extras just for your suitcase, do it.  But remember, you're there to rest. 
  • RX MEDICATIONS Odds are the nurses will only provide you with your daily prescription meds and of course whatever they are treating you with so it's good to pack things like Motrin, Lactaid, throat lozenges, sleep aids, etc. 
  • DEODORANT The cruelty-free brand Pacifica makes deodorant wipes that are perfect for freshening up. When you're bedridden you don't exactly need an antiperspirant. Just keeping that area clean is enough. 
  • PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS When I say personal, I mean PERSONAL. The types of things people don't want to admit they use but that I'm going to list anyway. Things like, Preparation H, women's products, stool softener. You get the picture. 
  • SOMETHING FROM HOME I always find it comforting to bring an item from home to make my stay easier. Whether it be a picture, stuffed animal or even just your favorite pillow will do the trick. 
I hope you found this helpful so that you can be better prepared in the future.

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