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  1. #1
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    Post-surgery hospital stay

    I'm obsessing over a packing list for my husband's heart valve replacement surgery. He'll be in the hospital three to five days after the operation, so I am not interested in packing light at all. I want to make sure we have All The Things that might possibly help make him comfortable. What I've got so far:

    Medications
    Kindle & charger
    Phone & charger
    Noise cancelling headphones & charger
    Ear plugs & eye mask
    Tooth brush/paste/floss
    Soap
    Deodorant
    Lotion
    Sandals
    Pillow
    Cozy front-close shirts
    Sweatpants
    Socks/underwear

    I can always bring him anything we forget, but preparing the list is an outlet for my anxiety. So. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I never go anywhere without Chapstick, but maybe that's a girl thing?!

  3. #3
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    My experience with hospitals is that sometimes outlets are not very accessible. Maybe something like this, so he’ll be able to reach for recharging his devices?
    AmazonBasics 60W 6-Port USB Wall Charger - White https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0773JHC6N..._3xLNCbSVRQTK8

  4. #4
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    Bathrobe and slippers? Coat, hat, gloves? His favourite music (like a Bluetooth speaker maybe?)

  5. #5
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    Sadly, I went through a period with numerous hospital stays a couple of years ago. Here’s what I learned (apologies if this is stuff you already know).

    Hospital tray tables are pretty small and I was constantly moving things around everytime a meal was served. If you have any travel trays, bring 1 or 2 to help corral tabletop doodads. If not a travel tray then something similar.

    Agree with @Wanderlust regarding general inaccessibility of wall outlets. They‘ll be well behind the bed. Recommend adding an extention cord that’s at least 6’ and 10’ would be better. Then you can pair it with a USB multi-slot wall charger.

    You might consider substituting slippers for sandals unless the latter are needed for rehab. Slippers, especially a cosy style may be more comfortable since he’ll be back and forth between bed and getting up to move around. My hospitals only provided the non-skid footy slipper type.

    Like @tress29, I’d add lip balm.

    Also recommend packing extra underwear in case there are [ahem] temporary control issues. And if he can’t shower for a few days, fresh underwear can perk him up.

    In the first day or so after surgury, I found it hard to read because of the after-affects of the anesthesia plus pain killers. The TV was a better entertainer because it required less focus. My hospitals had limited TV stations and the screens were pretty small, so taking a tablet it you have one is worth thinking about.

    I’d stick with earphones unless hubs will be in a private room. Listening to audio via a speaker will likely irritate a roommate. I had a roomie who listened to hours of TV it certainly got to me. And if you’re taking earphones, you might not need earplugs too.

    The hospital will provide toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap so unless you’re husband as distictive preferences, you could leave those home. Check and see if you can bring your own pillow as the hospital might object in terms of housecleaning and sanitation.

    Not sure if the hospital will let you use your own meds. They never did with me as they want to control what and when meds are distributed. In at least one case, the hospital had to do a substitution for one of my meds they didn’t carry.

    Best of luck!

  6. #6
    Forum Member threeteez's Avatar
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    I'm a nurse, though it's been ages since I worked in an ICU so things may be more progressive now. I'd plan on minimal belongings immediately post-op. The lip balm suggestion is excellent. Depending on the unit, electronics may/may not be allowed and perhaps shouldn't be left when family visitors aren't present. If allowed, the hand held devices should be as clean as possible to reduce the risk of bacteria being transferred.
    Bring along something like a notebook or some means of taking notes or making lists of questions or concerns to ask when physicians round or queries you have about discharge planning and home care instructions.
    I hope the surgery goes well and the recovery is uneventful.

  7. #7
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    A big insulated water bottle, so he/you can have cold water all the time?

    Small flashlight(s) or book light so you don't have to turn on the big overhead light at night

    Are you or someone else staying there overnight with him? Extra blankets in case it's cold?

    When a relative was in the hospital for an extended stay I sent a poster (art print) to tape on the wall at the foot of her bed so she had something cheery to look at besides the bare walls.

    If you like them - maybe some essential oils to mask that hospital antiseptic scent?

  8. #8
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    The hospital will provide a water bottle or pitcher and a nurse or aide will refill it with water and ice on request. Same with providing blankets. Depending on his dietary restictions, nursing or aides can also bring juices and simple snacks like crackers or cereal — although he may be very resticted at first.

    @Threeteez does make a good point about safeguarding valuables whether electronics or other.

    My rooms didn’t have locked closets and I was in and out of my room for various reasons so be aware. I put my wallet into the hospital vault and one time my jewelry as well when I came via the ER. The hospital has a very detailed inventory process although it’s best to leave the wallet nad jewelry at home if possible.
    Last edited by KathyH; 03-29-2019 at 12:23 PM.

  9. #9
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    This is so helpful! Thanks for your expertise.

    I'll definitely make sure he has nice, long charging cables. He was thinking he'd read or listen to audiobooks, so the Kindle would be enough. He loves watching sports, but that's got to be t.v., not internet, so I don't think a tablet would do him any good. Honestly, if he could get the Red Sox beamed directly into his brain, he'd be happy forever.

    I'll scope out the tray/table situation when we get there and figure out a solution when we know exactly what the deal is. Good to know to look out for it!

    The sandals are basically slippers that can also be shower shoes, very comfortable for shuffling around, easy on/off with or without socks since bending over to reach his feet will be a problem. He's got cozy slippers with rubber soles, too, so I'll add those just in case.


    Adding a notebook to the list! He will definitely prefer that to taking notes on his phone. I'll add lip balm, too.

    Meds: I've read advice that says sometimes the hospital insists they give all the meds, but sometimes they want to see your bottles? Also, he takes some things that aren't always in stock everywhere, so I figure it's worth bringing them just in case? I'll ask... But probably pack them regardless. Ditto on a pillow and blanket (and give them a hard core laundering right before).

    If it were me, I'd definitely pack a personal essential oil thing -- what a great idea! I'll talk to him about it.

    I didn't consider the different levels of inpatient care. The ICU will be a day or so, then longer term recovery will have fewer restrictions. Good to plan for!

  10. #10
    Forum Member K9TB's Avatar
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    Sometimes stretching to reach the table can be painful, depending on the incision. I brought a PCSB and had it in bed with me. That held my phone, battery charger, lip balm, eye mask. Even overnight it was with me. I liked the zipper closing.

    Depending on the IV situation a robe can be difficult to put on. The hospital can give you 2 gowns. Put one on with the opening in the back. Put the other on with the opening in the front. Then you are all covered up when you get out of bed. With the snaps and ties, they are easy to get on over or around equipment, and with a minimum amount of stretching if that’s painful

    My Dr wanted me to walk as much as possible after my procedure. So I did laps around the floor. The grippy socks they gave me were a little loose so I was glad I had my own socks to put under them and for more cushioning.
    What's better than o-rings? More o-rings.

  11. #11
    Forum Member K9TB's Avatar
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    I would definitely bring a battery charger rather than a plug in charger. Hospitals are very worried about patients falling and I think a cord going to an electric outlet would be a tripping hazard for you and the staff.
    What's better than o-rings? More o-rings.

  12. #12
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    A blanket. Hospital blankets suck and may take a while to be delivered when you want one.

  13. #13
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    best of luck to you and the hubs @Lia!

    I second the suggestions, esp the lip balm and maybe a neutral/hypoallergenic skin cream too... any type of healing sucks the water right out of you, so he'll need to stay hydrated and the sitting in sheets/gowns washed in not-your-own detergents, adhesives from bandages, etc. can be very drying and irritating on skin

    And this may sound dorky, but get him a stuffed Red Sox mascot or something for afterwards... guys like cuddly things too
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  14. #14
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    This is great!

    I can give him a travel tray for chargers/cables and, yes I'll add the external battery charger. And I've got a PCSB that will definitely fit the TT plus headphones/Kindle/notebook/box of tissues, with little stuff like lip balm and lotion in the front pocket. He can figure out which items he wants to keep at hand.

    So if all his entertainment/comfort stuff fits in a PCSB, I can put his clothes in his NFTD -- it's just sweats, flannel shirts, socks, and underwear. I'll add a small ZTSB to the list that he can use as a laundry bag and I can take it home every day and return it full of laundered clothes the next day.

    I am now appreciating the gender neutrality of TB bags -- hubby would not want to be stuffing his dirty clothes into my flowery cotton tote bags.

    He's had a LOT of outpatient surgeries, and one overnight, but this is his first multi-day stint in the hospital. I'm sure we'll discover he needs something no one thought of.

    Thanks, y'all!

  15. #15
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    Sorry your family is going through this and best of luck. Sorry if any of these have already been mentioned:

    Travel mirror
    Swiss Army knife/multi tool
    Some form of wipes so that he can freshen up without having to trek to the bathroom
    Comb
    Quick dry towel
    Water spritzer — its Amazing how refreshing these can be.

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