My Essentials for a Hospital Appointment…

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Welcome to the seventh day of the National Health Blog Post Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health.  Every day during the month of November I will be writing a new blog post related to health and living with a chronic illness based upon given prompts provided by WEGO Health.

Today’s prompt reads:

Mary Poppins Carpet Bag: Write about what’s in your bag/purse/backpack every day and why!

This prompts come on a day where I have a hospital appointment – this afternoon I have a specialist appointment with a consultant in Audiovestibular Medicine.  So, given today’s prompt I decided to change it slightly and instead write about everything that I have in my bag when I attend various hospital appointments.  I don’t know about you, but I tend to get anxious and jittery attending hospital appointments, even after so many visits!  So I like to have plenty in my bag to keep me occupied and distracted when waiting to see the doctor.  Sitting in a hospital waiting room is in itself a waiting game.  So here is the run down on what I keep in my bag for appointment days:

  • The appointment letter: Very important to take this as obviously it contains all the vital information regarding the appointment such as the location, time and the doctor you are seeing.  More often than not the receptionist checks the letter for your information so is important to take the appointment letter with you to the hospital
  • Other Medical Information: At appointments they always ask you for certain information such as the frequency of the symptoms; medications you are taking; questions about medical history so I would advise to keep a notebook with all of this information written down in it, to take with you to such appointments
  • Puzzle Books: I have a couple of puzzle books, with Sudoku puzzles and crossword puzzles in them.  I usually get these out of my comfort box when I am stuck in bed as they help distract me from the pain and dizziness as well as help pass the time away, so often will take a book or two to complete whilst I am waiting.
  • Mobile Phone and iPad: Obviously, I am not able to make or receive calls whilst at the hospital but the phone itself becomes an entertainment centre, with everything I need to occupy me during the often long wait to been seen by the consultant.  With the phone I am able to check Facebook and Twitter, exchange messages with friends to help me through the anxiety, and also play different games to distract me from the dizziness.  The iPad enables me to listen to music or even watch a favourite film or television programme to make waiting much more enjoyable!
  • My ‘Little Book of Strength; – I am a big fan of the ‘Itty Bitty Book Company’.  They are a small company who sell handmade little book of quotes whether it be motivational quotes, positive quotes or quotes to gain strength from.  They also come with coloured beads attached to them, which make them really beautiful little gifts and keepsakes.  I love the ‘Itty Bitty Book of Strength’ and read all of the positive quotes when I am struggling because of my condition or just having a bad day. And I take them with me to hospital appointments to give me strength and help keep me calm
  • Mints and a bottle of water: My condition and the dizziness causes a lot of nausea; as well as this my mouth is always dry due to side effects of my medication so the mints and water help with this
  • Hat: I always carry this around in a little pocket in one of many Kipling bags as I have found that wearing a hat and minimising a lot of the stimuli surrounding me does help calm the dizziness down somewhat and is one of my main coping strategies when it gets bad
  • Purse: Always carry a purse as there are always shops at hospitals, and enables me to buy a drink or a snack during my wait.  Oh, and helps towards the car park fees, of course!

 

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My Comfort Item

What do you carry in your bag/purse/backpack when you visit the doctors’ or hospital?  Feel free to add your thoughts and comments below!

NHBPM Day Four: Sneak Peek in my Bag!!

I have several bags most of which are in the Kipling range – a brand which I have come to adore because of the functional styles and great organisation within the bags but also because of the fantastic colours and patterns that they come in!

My range of Kipling Bags!!

And every bag comes with a little Monkey keying; each with a different name and each named after an employee of Kipling:

The famous Kipling monkey keying!! This one is named ‘Jo’

My latest favourite bag is the Kipling Firefly Backpack Medium.  This bag has also the ability to convert from a backpack to a shoulder bag with removable and adjustable shoulder strap.  The backpack is ideal for my condition, as I use a crutch a shoulder bag I found use to get in the way so a backpack is a great alternative, it doesn’t get in the way of the crutch and in addition it distributes weight evenly, so better for the back.

As previously mentioned, Kipling bags are renowned for their organisation; and this bag includes lots of pockets so you always know where you have put your belongings!!  The main compartment of the bag includes a zipped pocket, great for medications or tissues, and also includes a mobile phone pocket and a clipped keycord so you never have to rummage around the bag looking for your keys or phone again!  And there is also a pen pocket – another item that also gets lost in bags!

And what is in my bag whenever I go out? There are the basics: my purse just in case I need to purchase anything.  Then there is my phone, which I carry everywhere with me, although I never go anywhere by myself, there are times when my parents drop me off  places such as my volunteering placement or the Wednesday group I attend.  In these instances it’s important to have my phone with me in case I become unwell and need to come home, or if I suffer a fall, say in the bathroom and need to alert someone as I cannot get up!! So, my phone is a must!

As I suffer a lot of nausea, I always have some mints with me to ease it, or even if I am physically sick I always have something I can refresh my breath with and make the taste of sick disappear.  I have been finding lately that I am getting quite forgetful, or as other patients call it, the dreaded ‘brain fog’, so I also make sure that I have a small notebook and pen on me so I can write important details down, such as things I need for the shops, or appointments that I need to keep so I don’t forget.

In Wales, where I live, the government has enforced a 5p charge on plastic carrier bags that people use when shopping.  This is to help the environment and to encourage people to recycle more, so I also carry a foldable shopping bag with me in case I purchase anything so I don’t have to use any plastic carrier bags and save myself 5p in the process!

And there is my very handy ‘pillfold’, which is a fun and fashionable way to carry medications and vitamins when you are on the go.  Instead of those annoying pill boxes, which for me when I am having tremors in the hands are very difficult to open.  But the pillfold is completely different – they are made from fabric  and have eight separate compartments; one for each day of the week with morning and evening compartments, which in turn makes it easy to determine which pills need to be taken and when.  And with the easy to grab zip pulls they are extremely easy to open and close.  As the name suggests they also fold so it’s very discreet and no one needs to know you have medications on you as it’s so discrete.  This is great to carry when out because it’s discrete and means I never have to forget to bring along my medications again!  I love mine so much and find it’s incredibly handy, one of my most useful purchases!  Thank you Sara!

The pillfold was designed by a wonderful health activist by the name of Sara Gorman, who herself battles with Lupus, which she beautifully documents at her blog ‘Desperate Lupus’.  And 5% of the money raised by the purchasing of the pillfold, or of the ‘pillpouch‘ goes to a Lupus charity.  I love mine and I find it so handy; if you would like to purchase one yourself, you can:

http://www.pillfold.com/collections/frontpage

The contents of my everyday bag!!