As a child people would ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was such an exciting question because I could come up with a million of the most splendid ideas for my adultness. First, I wanted to be a princess, all pink and sparkly, with a white horse to prance around on. Then as I got older, I dreamed about being the first woman president, but not because I was interested in running a country. I wanted to grow into an awe-inspiring individual, that many people looked up to. But once I found out that I couldn’t paint the white house pink, I tossed that plan out the window. As I became a teenager, I hoped to own a no-kill, no-eat ranch where I would give all the animals ironic names, such as a pig called “Bacon” or a cow named “Top Sirloin”… don’t judge me. Although I had many wishes for my adulthood, I never planned on growing up and becoming a professional patient.
Although I have visited many medical institutions all over the country; I didn’t have to graduate from an elite University to reach my pro status. I have experienced more emergency rooms than I have fingers and toes. Once I spent my 50th night lying in a hospital bed, I stopped counting…. I have been poked, prodded, jabbed, stuck, taped, glued, stapled, stitched, medicated, monitored, assessed, anesthetized, weighed, measured, sedated, x-rayed, scanned, catheterized and cut into. I have endured so many surgeries that I can’t even remember the exact number of times I have been on the receiving end of a scalpel. With my vast and varied experiences, I have perfected my craft. When you become a professional patient, you learn what tools you should invest in, to have a successful career. I will give you a few trade secrets of the instruments you should pack when on the way to the hospital:
1. Fluffy socks: The disposable, one size fits all, skid-proof booties you get at the hospital will never fit right, and have this amazing ability to rotate complete circles on your feet. Although amusing, extremely annoying.
2. A tank top with a built in bra: This way you don’t have to take all your clothes off when wearing a gown, and bonus…you can wear the top in x-ray machines!
3. A few pairs of knickers: Preferably granny panties or men’s boxer shorts. The bigger, the better when trying to cover the opening in the back of the hospital gown.
4. Lip-Balm: In the midst of sterile-ness, (Yes, I made that word up…) your lips may get chapped, which can be uncomfortable. Perky’s Pick: “EOS: Evolution of Smooth” and bonus, if you have to wear a nasal cannulas for oxygen, the lip balm is great for dry nasal passages.
5. Blue Blankin: My baby blanket goes with me to all stressful procedures. A stuffed animal can be just as beneficial, if it brings you comfort. Yes, I know that I am a thirty something girl who needs her blankin to find strength to go through a medical procedure… Thanks, Captain Obvious.
6. Toothbrush and Paste: Imagine using a toothbrush where all the bristles fell off in your mouth and the paste tasted like rotten eggs, with just a hint of mint… now you’re getting the idea! BYOD: Bring your own Dental.
7. Identification, Insurance Card and Current Medication List: The first two are no-brainers, but I must emphasize the importance of your med list being current. The hospital staff will be seeing you for the first time, usually without background details and limited health records. By giving them all the pieces to your medical puzzle, you ensure that the Doctors who care for you have the best information to treat you.
8. Cleansing Wipes A.K.A. Defunkify wipes: Ok people, reality check time… sponge baths are not sexy. Unfortunately Ryan Gosling won’t be there giving you a candlelit bubble bath while spewing quotes from “The Notebook”. It is usually a quick rubdown, (by an over-sized nurse who smells like Cheetos) of all your tids and bits with a lukewarm, microwaved pack of S.O.S pads. Perky’s Pick: “Pond’s evening soothe wet cleansing towelettes” with Chamomile and White Tea. The fragrance is calming to your senses.
9. Body Spray: After a day in the hospital, your flower fresh scent will begin to wilt. Although the smell of hospital is not easily masked, a clean body spray can help raise your mood and make those around you happy.
10. Some form of entertainment: It is a scientific fact that time in the hospital moves at a slower speed. Bring plenty of magazines, books, crossword puzzles, games or electronic devices, such as e-readers or tablets. Just remember to bring a charger.
Those are just a few trade secrets from a professional patient. What other items, tips or advice do you find helpful when faced with a trip to the hospital?