Speak to any woman who has undergone breast surgery, and she’ll tell you that you need to pack more than front-close pajamas to make your time in the hospital comfortable.
Here is a list of the top 7 things that will help you through both your hospital stay and the transition home:
- The right bag is an important place to start. You need a sturdy but lightweight bag for your things, with a secure closure (preferably a zipper), and feet to keep it from resting or lying directly on the hospital floor. Often a pre-op nurse will take your bag for you and deliver it to you on the post-op floor so it is ready for you when you wake up.
- Small, soft pillow(s). Make sure the pillow is small enough to fit under your arm, and if you are having bilateral surgery, pack two. This pillow is crucial for arm comfort and to protect you from rubbing your (often sore) underarm area.
- Small bag of travel toiletries. You’ll appreciate being able to freshen up during your stay, whether it is brushing your teeth, washing your face, or clipping your nails. Think about what items or products you personally need to feel refreshed and relaxed.
- Energizers and boredom fighters. Look for small and simple ways to engage yourself and visitors, like a deck of cards, and maybe a small travel game. Don’t forget to add in a pen and pad for writing notes, and include some healthy snacks to keep your energy up.
- Plastic folder or file keeper to keep all your hospital papers secure, clean, and dry. Look for something that has a flap or closure to protect everything. There will be a lot of papers to take home, and you won’t want to lose any important documents and information you need for recovery and care.
- Cozy socks. These are only for keeping your feet warm while you are in bed, as socks should never go from the bed to the hospital floor. That’s asking for germs to get into your bed! Pick something cozy and soft—and maybe in a favorite color or pattern that will add some brightness to your stay.
- Flip flops or easy slip-on non-skid slippers for trips to the bathroom and for walking around the hospital.
Note: It’s not a good idea to pack valuables, including your cell phone, in your hospital bag. It’s best to leave them home or, if you will need them after surgery, with a family member. Many hospitals will not let you use your phone in certain areas of the building.