However, as time goes on & your hospital visits become the "norm", things start to die off. When you say that you are being admitted again, people respond with "how long this time?" Your visitors become the nurses looking after you, & those closest to you know exactly what you pack in your usual hospital bag.
Recently I have had quite a few of my fellow Rare Warriors spending some time in hospital & feeling rather overwhelmed with the whole situation. I asked on my Facebook page what other friends would love to receive, & what ideas they had. When I posted this, I had such a great response & realised that many friends had no idea what to bring with them or if I still wanted visitors. With all this being said, lets jump straight into the ideas that were thrown around:
Please don't forget about us! Please come visit us in hospital, send us a message or give us a quick call. Knowing that people still care about us & are supporting us through our journey means more than anything.
A Cuddly Toy/Pillow
Hospital life is tough. There are moments that the tears flow freely or when you are completely overwhelmed at the entire situation. Everyone's lives continue around you & sometimes all you need is a cuddle to help you through that time. A Rare Bear is super special too as these are handmade & unique - just as rare as us! It also helps to have a little bit of home with you whilst you are stuck in hospital.
|My beautiful friend Ash - with Rarity from My Little Pony|
A Soft, Beautiful Blanket
Hospital is cold, & I know that my treatment causes my body temperature to drop even further. I have sometimes had up to 7 blankets over me just to try stop me shivering! They are stark, white places & having something bright & cheerful can really change the whole mood of the place - my doctor always comments that she knows where to find me as she just has to look for the pink/unicorn things.
A Hot Water Bottle/Wheatie Bag
Muscle spasms & pain is common place with being bed bound; having permanent lines inserted; or even just the stress of your 'normality' being flipped upside down. These help to ease this pain; relax your muscles; & provide some comfort. I don't go anywhere without mine & have one at home, one at work, & one that I take with me to hospital. They really help with headaches, period pains & tension.
Hand Sanitzer & Hand Cream
Often Rare Warriors have compromised immune systems & the hospital hand sanitizer is so strong & reminds me of being in hospital, so I love those dinky little gels/sprays that I can carry with me at all times to prevent the spread of germs & keep me feeling fresh. These are often quite drying though, so hand cream goes hand-in-hand with this (excuse the pun!) & I am constantly applying lotion to try keep my skin feeling soft & nourished.
I don't know what it is about being in hospital, but my lips are forever dry! And chatting to fellow hospital-goers they said the same thing. I am not sure if it is the constant air-conditioning; the change in atmosphere; or the different treatments, but my lips pay the price. I take a massive jar of vaseline with me, & I know when I was on a ventilator this is all I wanted.
Colouring In Goodies
Being stuck in bed for up to 24 hours a day means you can get bored; your hands don't know what to do; & there is only so much TV that you can watch! A friend makes the most stunning colouring in books that you can purchase online & download then print yourself. I know that I will be taking mine in with me for my next admission. You can buy these from Etsy or contact her directly.
I will be the first to admin that I am a complete & utter bookworm! I have known to stay up until early hours of the morning to simply finish a book. I love everything from Harry Potter to Jodi Picoult to murder mystery. Recently I was sent some books by Christine Bernard & finished all of them in a week as I simply couldn't put them down. She has just released a new one so give it a try :) Plus she is a South African author & I always prefer to support local & celebrate this talent that we have.
Travel Sized Toiletries
With many pairs of pajamas, medication, stuff from home, work goodies, cellphone chargers & adapters; my bag literally split at the zip during my last admission. I had to take all my toiletries in a different bag just so they didn't leak all over, or spill out of my bag. Then when I popped into the local shopping centre I was reminded of the smaller toiletries such as body wash, body cream & so on. It would make such a difference not just in space, but to also make us feel cleaner & prettier - & to take away the smell of hospital that seems to seep into every pore.
Oftentimes you have a drip inserted, or some kind of appendage that makes a normal shower difficult, & the very idea of washing your hair is just beyond what you can cope with. My admissions are only 5 days at a time, but I know there are many people who are in for much longer. Hair goes greasy quickly when it is constantly against your pillow, & a little container of dry shampoo is an absolute lifesaver in making you look & feel better! If you can't bring one of these in, perhaps offer to help wash our hair in the basin. It will mean more than what you could ever imagine. It's amazing the difference that clean hair can make.
Going back to how cold a hospital can be, socks are an absolute necessity. The best socks that my mum ever got for me had little grips on the bottom so I wouldn't slip when I got up to go to the bathroom. If my feet are warm then my body seems to maintain heat a lot better, which makes me a lot more comfortable.
I don't know about you, but I FLY through mobile data whilst in hospital. Not all hospitals have WiFi & thus any time spent online, on Facebook or even whatsapp causes my data to run out a lot quicker than it does when I am just at home. It is not something people think of, but this helps us keep an eye on what is happening outside of the hospital walls & also keep our family & friends up to date with how things are going.
Lights in a hospital are on 24 hours a day & this can make sleeping difficult. Something that can be used to cover your eyes makes such a difference & can mean a proper nights rest - believe me we need this! Sleep also helps your body to heal quicker so hopefully we can go home quicker. There are some adorable masks at Typo & all sorts of pharmacies that would truly brighten our time away.
Facial Mist & Body Spray
The smell of hospital is one that is very noticeable & seems to hang around in our pores, leaving a lingering smell & reminding us that we are stuck inside & not in our own space.
A facial mist is so very refreshing (my favourite is this one from Pink Cosmetics) & helps to cool down your skin should you have any reactions to the treatment or medication, as well as moisturising.
The body spray keeps you smelling fresh & clean - it's great to just spray a little after a long snooze, or just before visitors pop in.
These are just a few ideas that I have collected from chatting to friends & family. There are so many other ideas, & just anything that will get us to smile (including you!) is so so appreciated.
Thank you for loving all of us throughout our journey x