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Top 10 Hospital Bag Hacks

It’s been quite honestly a bit of a bad start to 2018. That sounds awfully negative so I’ve decided that January 2018 is my free trial to the year and I officially subscribe in February!

Marley has been really poorly with his cerebral pressure causing a lot of problems and now we are in desperate need of surgery. Travelling a lot for interim medication and now heading to Lisbon to meet private specialists to get him the help he needs. I will write more about it when I’m ready; however I’m not quite there yet. I need some more time to digest and rationalize and then I’m sure I’ll be able to write a few articles about our experiences this month.

As it has been harder to write as regularly as I was in December I have decided to open a YouTube channel as this way I can instantly connect and give feedback even when I might not be able to write it. So check it out and please subscribe and share just like the blog. The more followers we start to get we might be able to make 2018 the year we really make a difference with disability awareness!

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With us being constantly in and out of hospital I thought the best first article of the year could be light and cheery giving my readers top tips on what to pack into a hospital bag. As we have currently been living out of a bag I count myself as quite the hospital bag ninja so I’ve decided to share my top 10 hacks.

These top 10 hospital bag hacks could be useful if you have a child going into hospital, an adult or even a day visit for yourself. You never know if it might be useful in the future.

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1) Layered and comfy clothes

You never quite know what the temperature could be like on your ward or waiting room. Guaranteed it usually resembles an igloo or the tropics so wear stretchy layered clothes so you can strip on and off as you please. As much as I love and miss my heels I wouldn’t recommend them. My best buy recently was a pair of comfy trainers, I never thought I’d see the day and neither did my friends. But they really are like a hug for my feet, especially carrying and pushing bugalugs around I need to take care of myself. Like all carers if we don’t feel too great then there usually isn’t anyone to take care of us so make sure you do have your time.

2) Onesies and funky slippers

I think one of my favourite things to dress Marley in when he’s on the ward is a onesie. They are so cosy and he just seems that little bit extra cuddly! What’s great about them is how warm they are and easy to dress him in. Plus if he gets hot I simply tie the arms around his waist and put a t shirt on him so he’s only using the onesie trousers. Then as he’s being transported left right and centre, slippers are a must have. You can’t beat a funky pair of slippers! Also in regards to footwear remember flip flops are really a good idea when using the hospital showers. I always take a comfy blanket with us, if you or a loved one are a wheelchair user you probably get quite cold legs and knees and this is really nice to tuck into on those cold days.

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3) Every document under the sun!

It’s so important you keep all your health records safely in one place. Many people with health issues see various specialists and it is important you always have your health records to hand. Keep them in a file and organize everything as you never know when that x-ray from 2001 might come in handy. Divided into sections with the most recent documents always at the front. A really useful tip I learned recently is if you received any kind of scan such as an x-ray, MRI etc it is vital you request the images be put onto disk. Through the state system you often have to request this at the patient centre but you are perfectly in your rights and it is so important to have a complete set of documents.

For the nerd in me recently I bought a little pack called and Office Station from Steadtler. It wasn’t much but it literally completes my geek love to a tee. It’s a little box which consists of a black thin felt, a biro, a click pencil with a rubber end and a highlighter. Everything you really need in any stationary situation and I simply love it. Was definitely one of my best buys recently!

4) Toiletries and more toiletries...

I carry around far too many toiletries for us both so I’m not really practicing what I preach about packing light. However my hacks in toiletries may be useful for anyone packing a bag for any kind of trip. Especially to somewhere a little less comfortable like the hospital.

So I pack all my essentials like my shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste etc in little plastic snack bags. You can guarantee when you think ‘oh this isn’t going to leak’ you’ll have a world war three explosion on your hands in the depths of your rucksack.

In hospitals showers are often not the nicest areas and can often be busy. Wipes for both me and Marley are a god send. We can freshen up with a quick wipe and it keeps us going if we can’t face the shower that day. Especially for messy faces or sticky fingers you can also use travel packs which are fantastic.

Another way to freshen up quickly and hassle free is investing in a bottle of dry shampoo. I use Baptiste dry shampoo and it is fantastic. A can usually lasts me around 6 months so it really is good value and your hair looks presentable for the day when you don’t have time to do much with it. Not only that but certain brands even cover roots! Great from all the greys I’ve been developing recently.

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5) Face Mist

In the hospital with little sleep and high stress situations it’s normal that your face may look a little weary. I have found the answer to your face woes! I bought a face mist called the ‘Beauty Amplifier’ from Sephora over a year ago so again great value for money. I don’t think the face mist particularly ‘amplifies’ any beauty however it certainly does freshen and awaken. A few squirts of that in the morning before the doctors rounds will be better than a double espresso and you’ll be ready to go. Definitely a must on my hospital hack list!

6) Wacky water

If you’re reading this in Portugal then you may not be aware that state hospitals do not provide in patients or out patients bottled water. This is just incredibly silly bearing in mind the heat in the summer. What I like to do is try and pack a few bottles of water when I know I’m going in to be able to give some to anyone who might not be able to get out and buy their own. We have been in that position before not able to leave and it isn’t nice.

We have a plan in place when it comes to keeping our liquids up in the hospital and we bring in a big filtered sports bottle which will filter tap water through the beaker. As many parents will understand it isn’t always easy to get children to drink huge amounts of water. I don’t allow Marley to drink fizzy or sugary drinks otherwise I’d have a very hyper monkey on my hands. I have recently been decanting concentrated squash into little travel bottles and putting it into the sports bottle as and when he fancies something else to drink. This is such a good method of travelling lightly and a really easy way to get liquids into him. Obviously not to be confused for a urine pot!

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7) Munchies

I try and bring healthy energy filled snacks with me for Marley and myself. Lots of variety in small doses. Little packets of raisins and fruit crisps are perfect to keep him out of mischief for a while. Nothing messy and our general rule is if a wipe can’t clean it we won’t take it. The man of the hour has also recently decided he doesn’t like crusts on his sandwiches. So what I’ve been doing is getting a circular lid which fits inside the bread and cutting out circular sandwiches which seem to be going down well with the fuss pot!

8) Chargers and Headphones

When you’re in the hospital it is vital to be contactable at all times. Packing chargers for phones and any type of entertainment equipment you have like a tablet is a must. I pack all of our chargers and headphones in one little bag and wrap the cables around each device so it doesn’t get muddled inside. I have also seen people bring wireless speakers to be able to watch a film or program without headphones when they go for a stay. I am never in a private room and always in a communal ward so I never have opted for this because I also know how annoying it is to listen to someone else’s film you can’t see. So be considerate!

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9) Time for some fun!

If you are an adult going into hospital then you know full well what magazines, books or suduko you want to bring. Think of it as the time you’ve been meaning to read that book you bought last year!

For children though it is really important to make hospital experiences as productive, creative and most importantly positive as possible. As long as I have time I try and plan out our hospital days like an activity packed quality time at home. Most importantly rotating and keeping whatever is in our bag that day really fresh and intriguing.

We bring a different superhero with us every time we go along with pocket cars and helicopters. Colouring is a must and we always carry around pens and colouring books. A really easy light way to keep the day busy is by printing out designs the night before. Cars, trains, princesses or fairies on different pieces of card or paper are easy to whip out and not hard to carry. You’ll be surprised how popular you become with other in patients too!

My next idea isn’t for the faint hearted. I bought two pots of slime a few months ago, a green one for Marley and a pink one for Lilia. I told Marley it was his very own pot of robot poo and Lilia’s was unicorn poo. Disgusting I know but they think it is hilarious and it keeps them busy for literally hours. Plus to make meaning to my madness it is fantastic for his fine motor skills, but that’s just an excuse because personally I think its fun and something brilliantly different!

I try and pack a variety of activities for each day. An example from one day last week was I bought a cheap pair of pyjamas from Primark and some fabric pens (which were actually glow in the dark) and Marley had a great time making the pyjamas he would wear that night in hospital.

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10) A plastic doctor’s kit

The doctor’s kit worked better when Marley was younger but I think it is a really nice thing to bring certainly to any first timer on the pediatric unit. A plastic set of stethoscopes, needles, reflex hammers etc keeps children interacting during procedures which aren’t always fun and makes it a positive learning time rather than something to be scared of.

Which leads me onto my final point. Being positive and educational throughout hospital visits is vital. I swear Marley’s biology skills are better than any child in the neighborhood! The other day when he received a stomach echo gram we had a great time discussing where the tuna sandwich and crisps he had for tea were on the screen. Just these little things make all the difference. Children pick up on every feeling we have and if we demonstrate fear and apprehension it will be no surprise that they react in similar ways. It isn’t always easy but Marley is so relaxed now he even helps take his own blood when he needs to. It’s vital to keep it as light as possible, they are only children.

So put a smile on your face and make your next trip the most organised and productive yet!

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