Chemo-Tip Kit: Emergency Hospital Bag
One of the most useful tips that I came across when I was preparing for my first Chemo infusion was to pack a hospital bag in case of emergency.
When you are going through Chemotherapy, you are highly susceptible to infection. You are strictly advised that if your temperature ever rises above 38 degrees Celsius, you need to phone in to alert your Oncology team.
If this happens, there is the possibility that you may need to be admitted to hospital quickly. Therefore, it’s good to have a hospital bag pre-packed and ready to grab.
The following items are good to include:
- Spare phone charger
- Notebook and pen
- Headphones or ear buds – you’ll definitely need these if you are in a shared hospital room
- Emergency wallet - prepaid card with money loaded on it, c. €20 cash, I.D., Medical card/insurance card details
- List of all the medications you are currently taking
- P.J.s and Dressing Gown suitable for hospital – two piece (i.e. top with buttons and separate bottoms)
- Suitable slippers – closed shoe with non-slip soles
- Fluffy socks
- A few pairs of extra/spare Underwear
- Hairbrush or comb
- Toothbrush and toothpaste - make sure you put in a spare tube of the particular toothpaste you’ve been advised to use for ‘chemo mouth’
- Particular shampoo and conditioner as recommended by your Oncology team
- Particular natural body wash or soap
- Particular moisturiser as recommended by your Oncology team
- Eye drops
- Lip balm
Once you have all of the above neatly packed into a small bag, if an emergency arises and you have to quickly attend A&E, all you have to do is grab your phone and this bag, and you’re out the door.
I purchased a small duffle bag and packed it with all of the items listed above. I found the second wallet such a great idea that I created a third wallet, specifically for my chemo infusion visits. This might sound like overkill, but for me, I found it so useful to only bring the smaller wallet with me to chemo. That way if I misplaced it while I was in the hospital (chemo brain is real people), I wouldn’t panic because my important cards were safely at home.
Finally, make sure that this bag is easily accessible and that someone in your household or support system knows where it is. No harm in letting a few people you trust know where it is. That way, in case there is an emergency where you are really unwell or just not thinking straight, someone else knows where this bag is. They can either grab it for you as you are leaving, or they can bring it to you if you are admitted to hospital.
I left my emergency hospital bag in a corner of a room just off my front door. I don’t like leaving anything right at the front door because I am so security conscious. But I drove my support bubble people crazy by constantly reminding them of its existence and location.
This tip gave me such peace of mind. I have designed this checklist which you can download and use. I hope it helps you!
Do you have any suggestions of things to include that I might not have thought of? Please share your ideas in the comment section or send me a message. I look forward to hearing from you.