Today I put together a hospital go-bag for my husband, Barry. Twice this fall (once in October and once in November), I had to call an ambulance because he was experiencing a heart-related emergency. (A congenital heart condition is giving him problems.) The first time, I didn’t know what to bring with me and the first three days of his five-day hospital stay I was bringing in more stuff. The second time, I had a better sense of what he needed, but I still had to gather it up.
So when he got home from the hospital a couple of weeks ago, together we created a list of items to keep in a bag that I can grab on my way to the emergency room, should this come up again. I’m hoping that this will have the same effect as bringing along an umbrella when it’s threatening to rain: I won’t need it. (In fact, I created a similar bag for my dad several years ago and he hasn’t been hospitalized since!)
I put the list in Evernote, divided into two sections: (1) Things to keep in the bag and (2) Things to put in the bag. The latter category is for stuff he doesn’t have extras of, like noise-canceling headphones and reading glasses.
Today, I gathered the stuff up that will live in the bag and set it on the table. Here’s a picture. Pretty simple stuff like socks and underwear, soap, shampoo, and the all-important iPhone charger (with an extra-long cord).
I selected a colorful, distinctive Trader Joe’s bag to pack the stuff in. It will probably live in the corner of our bedroom. I printed out the checklist and attached it with a binder clip to the outside of the bag, so I’ll know exactly what’s packed inside the bag and what needs to be added.
I also clipped my hospital parking pass to the bag, so I wouldn’t misplace it. I was able to purchase a pass for five exits of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital parking garage for $20. I found out about that pass only after paying $15 to park the first day of the last stay, since I hung out with Barry in the ER for seven hours. Knowing exactly where that parking pass is and knowing it’s attached to the go-bag gave me instant stress relief.
Coming up with the list took a few minutes, but I did it right after getting home from the hospital. Gathering up the stuff and putting it in the bag took a few more minutes. It’s a tiny project that already gives me peace of mind!