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What to pack in your hospital bag - Chronic Illness Edition

With chronic illness comes the necessity to go in to hospital from time to time. Sometimes it will come from an emergency, and planning what to take can be impossible, other times you can have some time to think about what you need to take in. The latter is what we are going to be talking about today.

I'm being admitted for about a week tomorrow and thought I would take you through my process of packing my hospital bag. I find, no matter how many days my admission is planned for I try to generally pack for around 5 days (in May a "three day" admission turned in to almost three weeks). I'm really lucky that my family lives close to the hospital I will be going to so my mum can do any washing I need. In saying that, I do know that some days I just can't handle visitors so I try to pack for at least five straight days of no visitors (as a bit of a worst case scenario). I'm not 100% sure what the protocol is if you can't have someone wash your jammies but I am certain each hospital would have their way of doing things so don't be scared to reach out to the nurses for help.

Write a list

If this is my first post you're reading, let me introduce myself: Hi, I'm Maddy and I love lists.

For this admission I decided to ditch my handy dandy notes app and reach for my bullet journal. My list has three parts: clothes, toiletries and other, but you can write yours however you like! There's no sweeter feeling than ticking an item off a list and I can tell that this will be a gooden!

Toothbrush and deodorant

These are my two toiletry staples! I can deal with using hospital everything else but I always like to have my own toothbrush (hard texture only please) and deodorant! I actually carry one of each in my handbag in case I need to brush (or deodorise) on the go.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Okay, I may have lied about being okay with "using hospital everything else". Thanks to some whacky mast cells, I can't live without my QV shampoo and conditioner and find that I wash my hair every day in hospital so I feel nice and fresh and clean.

TENS machine/alternative pain relief

My Noha TENS machine from Ovira is at the top of my bag! I have a whole blog post that you can read here, that talks about my favourite alternative pain relief options. Most hospitals have ice and heat packs on hand so don't worry about packing those but I would definitely recommend taking anything else you find helpful. Don't forget to talk about what you are using with your admitting doctor to keep them in the loop and make sure you won't have any interactions with other treatment.

Things to keep you busy

Whether it's for distraction from pain or discomfort, or even to cure boredom over long hospital trips I always have to have movies downloaded, books on hand or Audible ready to go. This trip I'm taking my (obviously apart from Harry Potter), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon and a bit of a thinker, Bessel Van Der Kolk's The Body Keeps the Score . If you have a Gameboy or Nintendo Switch take them along too! One day can feel like one week in hospital so take all the distraction you need! I always include options that take less brain power for days when I just can't concentrate or am exhausted.


I know this may seem like I'm doubling up but I promise you, earphones can be so handy, especially if you end up doing laps around your ward. Even if they don't get used, I'm someone who would prefer to have them with me.


I've been left without my phone charger many a time and it is now the first thing I pack! I also make sure to pack my laptop and Ovira charger first too. If you've packed that Gameboy you'll be happy to have the charger for that as well!


I like to wear jammies instead of a hospital gown wherever possible, so if that is you too, make sure you pack a few pairs! My number one tip when packing pjs is to have short or loose sleeves so you can have a drip when needed! Slippers are the other clothing item I find to be handy as I need to do laps of the ward to keep my tummy moving. Maybe it's just personal preference, but slip on slippers can be useful when you don't have much energy and need to get in and out of bed. I've also packed my Modibodi undies as I want to feel safe and secure.

Medications and a medication list

One of the first things you will be asked for after admission is a list of your medications. I like to write them out on a piece of paper prior to my admission, to take away any stress on the day. Make sure you also pack all of your medications, including supplements and vitamins. Everything is important.

If you have a hospital admission coming up, take whatever you need to take with you to make yourself feel comfortable. Please feel free to send me a message through the contact page or my Instagram if you have an upcoming admission and need to talk to someone who has been there. You've got this!

Life is tough, but so are we.

Maddy xx

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