Hospital Bags: What’s in yours?

Jamie Tripp Utitus
Written by
Jamie Tripp Utitus

I’ve given birth twice. The greatest advice I had (well, in the top five) was to have my hospital bag ready. Razors, body pillow, games and puzzles, snacks etc. Even music that I may want my baby being welcomed into the world with, was suggested. So, when I was going to my OB, for what I thought was just a check-up, and rushed to the ER, it hit me – why the heck don’t I have a hospital bag proactively put together for emergencies? I am chronically ill. Unfortunately, being rushed to the ER is part of my life.

Instead of asking people to grab this and that, it would be much more efficient to just ask them to grab my already prepared hospital bag. Hospitals already scare me, so a bag in place with pieces of my home ready to come with me on my journey would’ve made sense and lent me great comfort.

So, now I have a hospital bag. I was reading some glossy magazine and they have this monthly article at the beginning where they ask someone famous what they have in their purse. I had the idea of sharing what’s in our MS hospital bags within the community. So, I decided to ask myself first, and then you.

Okay, here I go:

Make up. I am super vain and I must have eyeliner and lip gloss on at all times. A brush. Although I tend to put my hair in a fish tail braid to the side. It looks neat and it’s stylin’. I like to think it offsets the unstylin’ hospital gown. Hair ties/accessories. Lotion.

A razor. Even if I can’t shower, I wash up in any way I can and I sit on the toilet to shave my legs. I just like to feel neat and clean. I have friends who want to punch me for always having to shave. It’s just IN ME. I tried to give it up, and I did for almost six months.

I also have an extra bottle of rosewater spritz. I spray on my face, in my hair and on my body. It smells awesome and just clean. And baby wipes. I also keep leggings in there, as I’m just more comfortable that way. Socks.

Chargers for my devices. I take my phone and my laptop everywhere with me. Losing power scares me. It’s my window to the outside world, and my family.

Where I am from, you typically have a roommate in hospital. Roommates are a toss-up. Some come with a lot of baggage. Most notably, rude family members. I don’t want male strangers especially, walking in on my side of the room, taking over the television. The bathroom being on my side, means they all walk over towards where I am (with my bum hanging out of the back of my gown). I get angry when I’m ill. I’m just not as tolerant as I normally would be. So, to deal with all that may come with roommates, headphones are packed in my bag, and I watch movies on my laptop.

Two books. One for entertainment (Handmaid’s Tale) and one for my daily prayers. A list of my doctors and medications; including their numbers. I have my husband’s info on there as well.

I have a cross my friend knitted me. I have a rosary my mom got me. Little things like that come with me. They keep me faithful and focused on faith and family. I used to take my pillow everywhere with me, but now I’ve realize it smells too much like home and makes me lonelier.

I hate not having control. I realized that a decade ago when I was diagnosed with a rather unpredictable disease. I learned then to control what I could control in order to be as independent as possible. That meant being proactive. My hospital bag is designed to do just that. It keeps me as independent as possible. It keeps me happy and preoccupied. And there is something about being able to take care of myself on a personal hygiene level in hospital that makes me feel independent and good.

So, what’s in your hospital bag?

Oh, and underwear. Yikes. Definitely include undies. See why it’s important we think this through beforehand?

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