One look at the list below for your hysterectomy hospital bag and you’d be forgiven for thinking we are suggesting packing for year long round the world trip! Before you go faint at the length of this list, please remember it is intended to act as a prompt. You do not need everything listed; it is compiled from recommendations from the members of our HysterectomyUK Facebook page and you will know what is important to you. The explanations should help you decide. Please bear in mind you (or someone you can persuade to do it for you) do have to carry your bag in and get through the door!
In terms of quantities, many women go home from their hospital stay within 4 nights and most by 2, but some stay in for up to a fortnight. Some women are encouraged to get dressed from the day after the operation once the catheter is out. It sounds like an effort but it is a good routine both to get you mobile and also to make you feel a bit more human.
If you group things into several clear zip-lock bags to make up ‘grab bags’ you can lean over and get stuff e.g. a little bag with all the creams and stuff, another bag with your phone, headphones, charger etc. You could also have a bag with long handles that would be easy to pick up from the floor.
- 2 or 3 nighties, button up the front is helpful or ones that are easy to pull over your head. Many say don’t take pyjamas because of the catheter.
- Dressing gown
- Slippers and trainers/non slip shoes for wearing during the day, preferably slip on and not ones that need lacing up. Crocs/flip flops for the shower if you don’t like the idea of sharing showers.
- Bed socks: a nice touch if you feel the cold
- Clothes: comfy ones like track suit bottoms and vest tops/ loose dresses especially to go home in. Remember to leave room for your tender post operative abdomen.
- Bridget Jones knickers / abdomen support knickers (available from this site)
- ‘Disposable’ hospital knickers are brilliant as they stretch as far as the moon, and you can just throw them out afterwards.
- Waterless body wash so you can freshen up in your bed, or wet wipes.
- Dry shampoo/waterless shampoo and normal shampoo
- Shower gel
- Moisturiser (body and hands) and deodorant
- Toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash, denture pot and sterilisers
- Sanitary towels: Most women don’t actually bleed a lot and you may only need one or two pads (which most hospitals provide). Avoid ones with the ‘plasticky’ cover and use the older fashioned soft cover ones.
- Eye mask and ear plugs: recommended for a good night’s sleep – everyone says they are essential for wards can be noisy at night
- Towel – one large, one small. A large travel towel is lighter to manage but only if you already have one
- Tissues – particularly as it can be an emotional, hormonal, tearful time
- Hair brush and hairbands
- Skin tonic spray (fabulous for refreshing your face) and/or perfume to prevent from you from constantly having to smell the hospital smell
- Arnica, Bach’s Rescue Remedy, Lavender Essential Oil if you use them. If you have no idea what they are for, then don’t pack them!
- Lip balm – the air is very dry in hospital – this is an essential
- Medication if you are on it (especially migraine medication, don’t assume the hospital has what you need)
- Razor – if you admitted immediately after your pre-op assessment you might need to shave; it depends on the consultant so you won’t necessarily have to do it.
- Make up and jewellery – the vast majority of our members say leave it at home as you don’t feel up to wearing it but some say it helped make them feel better
Often your concentration span can be poor and you may sleep a lot but it is good to have some options. Most people do a little of lots of different things.
- Reading glasses!
- iPhone/charger/ear phones
- Kindle or laptop and their chargers. Most hospitals have wifi but you might want to take a dongle if they don’t.
- iPad loaded up with films and audio books or DVD player and take some films.
- Book/magazine/puzzle books: take a few things. Make sure the books aren’t heavy or they will be hard to hold.
- Notepad and pen – to make notes of questions to ask doctors, make paper airplanes, start your novel etc….
- Don’t forget 101 Handy Hints for a Happy Hysterectomy too.
Food and drink
- Small water bottles or Waterbobble (it’s a water bottle with a filter that you can fill from the tap): Keep the bottle small so that you can easily lift it post op.
- Flexible straws or any device that helps you drink whilst lying down
- Squash if you want to flavour the water
- Peppermint tea bags/ peppermint and lemon cordial/peppermint oil capsules/ Windeze/ginger biscuits (to ease digestion, bloating and wind).
- Polos/mints/chewing gum/sweets for post op dry mouth
- A few snacks and instant soups (the hospital kitchen is not room service and sometimes you might miss a meal depending on the timing of your op)
- Prunes and fruit to help get you going
- Your favourite tea bags or coffee
- Pillow: the beds are usually comfy enough but a pillow is good for car trip home
- Loose change for the hospital trolley of goodies and TV service
- Spare plastic bag to take home dirty laundry
- Photo of your family
- Hand held fan or small battery operated table top fan
- Back scratcher to reach that itch down the hospital stockings
- Home comforts if you need them like a fleecy blanket or your own mug
Finally, our forums have a fab section for General Hysterectomy Questions and in there is a thread called TOP TIPS From Ladies On The ‘Done Couch’. It contains a number of other tips and suggestions that would go into the ideal hysterectomy hospital bag. It is worth reading and our forum users will be adding to it regularly.