Hospital ~ What To Bring For a Comfortable Stay

doctors in hospital
clinic, people, health care and medicine concept – group of medics walking along hospital

The surgeon brought her nervous husband into a brightly lit private room to discuss the surgery. He began, “We had to resect almost half of her liver and the tumor had crowded almost every organ in her abdomen.” He explained that although they thought the hemangioma was the size of a softball, in fact, it was more like a football. The surgery had gone well and she was being moved to ICU.

Allow me to begin this post by saying, I had absolutely no room in my packed December/January calendar for major surgery, a stay in the ICU and a week in the hospital. My next blog post will take you through the actual surgery and hospital stay. This probably sounds whack-a-doodle but I might just call it “Why I’m Thankful For My Giant Tumor.”

This whole thing came out of no where, and I was completely blind-sided by the diagnosis and the treatment for a gigantic-sized liver hemangioma. A tumor so large, medical students were coming in pre, during and post-op to take a peek at me and soak up every brilliant word of wisdom my surgeon-God (not even kidding, he’s the real deal) had to share. Yes, I had my own mini version of a Grey’s Anatomy show all about liver resection. Meredith would have locked Christina in a closet to get in on this surgery!

woman running in business suit
Blurred motion of Energetic business woman is running with carrying a briefcase to a business meeting. Competition concept.

Looking back, I’d been having random symptoms for months, which I had ignored. It was the holidays, my blogging calendar was packed with deadlines and stuff and I just kept on going. Finally, my body forced me to S T O P and get checked out, and it wouldn’t take no for an answer.

The CT scan was quite surprising to all of us, and the ER doc said I had the largest hemangioma he’s ever seen. It was completely squishing all my organs, my stomach was now the size of a walnut due to over-crowding.

The hemangioma (a blood filled tumor) had now reached a very dangerous size and needed to come out pronto. The surgeon rearranged his schedule to get me in quickly and faster than you can say, hospital food is scrumptious, I had a date with a superstar surgeon and his dream team.

As soon as I got home, I went straight for my planner. I was booked with interviews, brand meetings and blog posts through March. Isn’t it funny how God intervenes in our lives at just the right moments, to guide us towards a more balanced life.

WHAT TO DO BEFORE SURGERY

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and am sharing my own personal experiences with this surgery. Please check with your own medical professional for your plan.

I had a very narrow window to prepare for my major abdominal surgery. One of the most important things he asked me to do was to eat or drink as much protein as possible. After these types of surgeries, you might be put on an IV or liquid diet until your digestive system recovers from the surgery. The more protein you pump into your body before surgery, the quicker your body will heal post-surgery.

Since my stomach had been squished, I was rarely hungry and filled up quickly. One of the smartest thing I did was to start drinking protein shakes and drinks.

One of my favorite recipes:

CASHEW MILK PROTEIN DRINK
Pour cashew milk into a mason jar or something with a lid.
Add organic vanilla to taste
a dash of sea salt
1 scoop of protein powder
Shake until blended, then pop it into the freezer for about 15 minutes, then enjoy.

SURGERY LESSONS

This is a personal message to you, yes YOU. Us with the boobs, we often make some bad decisions, putting everyone else first and ignoring our own health. Does that ring any bells with you, darling?

The surgeon told me my hemangioma was the size of a softball and the day before surgery, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing floors and writing blog posts. Don’t be a Jonet, because the truth of the matter is things can be much more serious than expected once the doc opens you up and really gets a look at what is going on inside your body. As it turned out, softball no, football-sized tumor, yes indeed.

My surgeon explained that he would be cutting from just below my rib cage, all the way down to my belly button. It was going to be painful and I had a long recovery ahead of me. I was looking at 5 – 7 days in the hospital, with a 4 to 8 week recovery period at home.

I researched what to bring for a long hospital stay (you know I’m a data nerd), and made a list of their suggested items. Here’s what I really needed while I was in the hospital:

WHAT TO TAKE TO THE HOSPITAL FOR YOUR SURGERY STAY

Beauty & Hygiene
The hospital will provide you with essentials, but bringing my own personal goodies helped me feel more like myself while away from home.

Toothpaste
Toothbrush
Mouthwash
Lip Balm
Shampoo
Cream Rinse
Dry Shampoo
Hair Brush
Hair bands or clips
Face cleanser
Face moisturizer
Body lotion (unscented)
Deodorant
Hand sanitizer
Germ sanitizing wipes

Legal Documents & Electronics
Cell phone
Phone charger
Ear plugs
Advanced care directive
Photo ID
Insurance card
List of medications
Notebook
Pens

Clothing & Stuff
Firm pillow with washable pillow case
Pajamas that snap down the front
Shorts
Slippers
Flip flops
Outfit for going home that won’t push on your abdomen or require you to raise your arms in the air

These are the things I found that helped me through my hospital stay and at home recovery too.

*This post contains Affiliate Links, which mean I might receive a small commission from anything you choose to buy from the links in this post.

SHOP BAC-D Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer
No matter which hospital you visit, they are well-stocked with germs.

During your hospital stay, you can expect to be woken up day and night for vital sign checks and blood draws. Wearing an eye mask allowed me to catch some cat naps here and there, which was a big help. Two of the most important things your body will need to recover is protein and rest.
SHOP Eye Mask


Although my hospital gown was an elegant little number imported from France (I kid) after a few days, I wanted to feel a bit more like myself. I was happy I had ordered this snazzy housedress with snaps all the way down the front. It allowed me to take the walks around the unit I needed to do without showing my butox, and gave my docs easy access to check the progress of my incision.

SHOP Long House Dress with Front Snaps


Speaking of walking, the nurses will have you up and walking by day two. Although they provide you with slip-proof socks, it’s a good idea to wear slippers to protect your feet. These were affordable, comfy and perfect for my strolls down the hallways.

SHOP Memory Foam Slippers

When you are finally given the green light to take a shower, you are going to want to wear flip flops or some sort of water shoes to prevent picking up a foot fungus or disease. These were less than $10.00 and kept my tootsies away from the foot diseases that might be lurking in your shower.
SHOP Flip Flops with Glitter Straps

Of all the things I’ve recommended in this post, I must say, a pillow should be at the very top of your must-have list. After open heart or abdominal surgery, the doctor has cut your muscles, tendons and ligament, which is extremely painful. You truly have no idea how often we use these muscles until they’ve been severed.

A firm pillow should be by your side at all times post surgery. If you feel a cough, sneeze, hiccup or laugh coming on, pull that pillow close to your abdomen to protect your incision area.

SHOP Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Pillow


SHOP Snapware Stackable Storage Container

Next up on the blog: I’ll take you through my actual surgery and hospitalization experience in hopes that my experiences help someone who might be about to go through abdominal surgery.

Until then, wishing you good health and much happiness.

Xo, Jonet

jonet wooten walking dog

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jonet
Jonet Wooten is a former investigative newspaper reporter/photographer. She's always in search of the latest & greatest in fashion & beauty, which she writes about on her AWARD WINNING Blog.

4 Comments on What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag For Surgery

  1. Leslie Susan Clingan
    February 9, 2019 at 10:19 pm (6 days ago)

    Wow, wow, wow…I am so glad you put life on hold and went for a check. Our bodies often have to scream before we hear them complaining that something is wrong. I contracted Lyme disease twice. The second time I had no idea what was wrong with me but I knew I certainly wasn’t ‘right’. Thank goodness for a doctor who rearranged his schedule to get you into surgery immediately.

    I appreciate this post, just hope I don’t have to use your tips for packing a hospital bag! My mom was hospitalized in three facilities over the holidays and we wound up having half of everything she owns in her room by the third hospital stay.

    Reply
    • jonet
      February 12, 2019 at 8:49 am (4 days ago)

      Hi Leslie,
      Yikes, you’ve overcome Lyme disease not once, but twice? You are one strong lady and I hope you never have to deal with this crippling disease again. I understand what you are saying about your mom’s hospitalization. In the end, it comes down to a yearning for things familiar, the look and feel of home. I’m so happy you brought along her favorite things while she was getting care.

      Thanks for your insightful comment.

      Xo, Jonet

      Reply
  2. Nancy Mac
    February 2, 2019 at 2:29 pm (2 weeks ago)

    Well said!! Glad you made it to the other side!

    Reply
    • jonet
      February 4, 2019 at 8:20 am (2 weeks ago)

      Thank you my friend. I also appreciated all your sage advice on surviving major abdominal surgery, you were an incredible help. Sending you much love,
      Xo Jonet

      Reply

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