Everyone hates spending the night in the hospital but sometimes we get sick or need surgery and have no choice. I have had far too many hospital tests done and way too many surgeries for my liking that I couldn’t even tell you exactly how many surgeries I have had and know it’s around thirty so all you need to know is it’s a lot. If I had to guess I have had to more surgeries than I have actually been alive but that is okay because you do what it takes to keep moving. Not all of my surgeries have required hospital stays where I had to stay overnight but many of them have which those are my favorite types of surgeries if I had a favorite. Next week I am going to have a major hip surgery which will require a couple of days in the hospital and although I am not happy about having to spend a couple of nights in the hospital it’s nothing new to me and I would much rather spend a couple of nights in the hospital than to go home and have to come back. If you are expecting to spend the night at the hospital for a few days but don’t know what to bring for a more comfortable stay here are some things bring for almost all my medical procedures.
Medical supplies- If you go to the hospital and need medical supplies like catheters you usually can get them in the hospital from Central Supply but I would not recommend relying on that. They only bring you like two at a time so you have to keep on calling every couple of hours to get more which can be delayed a little bit but nothing too long because the longer you wait the more difficult it will be to go to the bathroom. Delaying a cath by a half-hour is not really going to hurt me that much but I have a history of bladder stones and get UTIs easily so it can be really dangerous to delay it for much longer than that. I always bring extra catheters so I don’t have to worry about not being able to go to the bathroom and have any medication I am taking as well because they don’t always have that in stock either. Make sure if you are taking other medications you aren’t doing it secretly and tell your doctor what you are taking so you don’t end up taking an antibiotic that interferes with your other medications.
Electronics- If you have ever been to a hospital and had to spend the night you would know their tv selection is not great and you can run out of thing to watch in a day or two because half of their selection is either news channels or kid shows Sometimes I can find something to watch on television but usually there isn’t that much to watch so it can be super handy to have a backup plan and download some movies from Netflix or Disney Plus just in case you find yourself scrolling through all the tv channels wondering what to watch. I also have tons of coloring apps on my tablet that I am totally addicted to that I could play for hours without having the television on in case I get really bored. I am really loving podcasts right now could just lay there listening to music or my favorite podcast to distract myself from the pain. I also always have my phone so I can call or text my friends, check social media because people always worry until I give them a reason not to.
Cough drops/ throat lozenges- The breathing tube they put down your throat during surgery sometimes can make your throat incredibly sore and in my opinion can be worse than if you had a head cold except it’s all in your throat and nowhere else. It’s usually not that bad for short procedures and doesn’t cause that much pain but long ones is where it gets you! I don’t always have sore throat after short procedures but usually for long ones I do which depending on how long it was it can last up to a week. Cold things like icecream or Slurpee’s can also help soothe your throat and give you temporary relief if that is allowed in your diet but the most important thing to recovery is to drink as much fluids as you can because the sooner you start drinking fluids the better off you will be!
List of all your surgeries- Some people could literally tell you how many surgeries they have had from their memory because it’s either zero or one but not me! When you are disabled and have had multiple surgeries usually you can remember all the important ones but you won’t be able to remember every single surgery you have had and the dates of all of them. If you were to ask me all the medical procedures I have had I could probably tell you the most recent ones but I would not be able to tell you every single surgery I have had from my memory and neither could my mom who deals with all my medical stuff and knows way more than I do! Whenever I go to the doctor or have surgery they usually want a list of every medical procedure I have had so my mom keeps a list of all of them. When I go to have a medical procedure a list of all my surgeries is usually in their system but sometimes things get lost and it’s not so we always bring a copy just in case. If you know me and are curious and to see all the medical procedures I have had then just ask my mom because she has a list!
A clean pair of clothes- You will have to wear a hospital gown throughout your stay but eventually, you will be discharged and need something clean to change into for your departure. I usually wear dresses for surgery recoveries because I am in pain and it’s the easiest to change into with minimal pain. I can’t even bear the thought of putting on a pair of pants after hip surgery and just having that thought in my mind makes me cringe so we won’t be doing that!
I know having surgery is stressful because the bed you have to sleep on isn’t that comfortable, nurses are constantly bothering you at all hours of the night and monitors go off every ten minutes reminding you that you’re alive! I am not the type of person who can just music on and fall asleep but actually, it will do quite the opposite and keep me awake which is why it’s so hard for me to fall asleep in hospitals because even the tiniest noise will keep me up all night. Planning and being prepared won’t make everything great so you love the journey but it can make things a little less stressful because there is something about not having enough medical supplies that can really cause a disabled person to panic! We rely on these things to helps us go to the bathroom or manage pain so when you don’t have them it can be extremely devasting for disabled people because it can cause a lot of medical issues which could lead to more surgeries. I don’t think the surgery itself is that stressful for me since I have had so many and know what to expect but it can be stressful figuring out my bathroom schedule and managing pain while I am inactive because sometimes I am unsure of how I will do it which the added stress can make it even more difficult. These are things I put in my hospital bag as a disabled person but not all disabled people will put the same types of things because we are all so different and some people may have more or less needs than I do and need more stuff. Have you ever had to spend the night in the hospital and if so what do you put in your hospital bag?
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