Recently, I had occasion to be admitted to one of our local hospitals with chest pain. As it turned out, I only had to stay overnight so that diagnostic tests might be completed.
Returning home, I realized that I had been caught completely unprepared for a hospital stay ~~ even for overnight.
So I began to prepare for any subsequent, unplanned emergent trip ~ be it to the hospital or to the other side of the state. The result: my GO BAG (I watch NCIS). First I went to Walmart and bought a small suitcase. I chose an 18” Pilot Bag. It has wheels and a pull handle.
- Names and phone numbers of my doctors
- A list of all medicine I take Note: I plan to take my daily meds in the 1 week boxes with me
- I will take my purse
Contact number of my family (son and daughter)
Phone and charger
- 2 changes of underwear
- A toothbrush and small tube of tooth paste
- A small comb, brush, hairpick and shower cap
- Basic cosmetics (in small containers)
- Warm pajamas, socks and light robe
- Bible, devotional book, novel
- 2 packets peanut butter crackers
- About 5 -$1 bills or equivalent change (quarters) to go to Coke machine (if allowed to have food & drink)
I suggest that if you use an assist device to walk – walker or cane – take it with you. (It could take 1-2 days for the hospital to arrange for you to have one of theirs).
And while I am on the subject, should you be admitted to the hospital (any hospital), I highly recommend that you have an advocate with you most, if not all, the time. This person can help you hear and understand instructions and ask questions to clarify what is said. He or she can make sure you are as comfortable as possible. They should keep an eye out for your needs. (Hospitals these days seem to be short-handed. Sadly, it appears that attention to detail often is lacking.) So it frequently falls to the patient’s family or friends to pick up the slack. Twice in the past year, I have observed the patient’s call button placed far out of the patient’s reach. When a real need arose, there was no way to call for help.
This information is not meant to frighten anyone but to help us to be be prepared before a need arises. Your patient advocate should also have his or her own GO BAG.
Last words about the GO BAG.
- Keep it small.
- Keep it ready: Don’t borrow from it.
- Keep it accesible (so anyone can find it).
- On your way out to the hospital: Grab your purse with phone & charger, glasses. Etc. or wallet and your medication.