To call me a professional patient would be a sort of an understatement. On a busy week I spend a large chunk of time at doctor’s offices, physical therapy rooms and hospitals waiting for appointments. To make my life even more exciting I am unable drive, so I spend even more time waiting for the transportation service that shuttles me around. It’s all very glamorous.
Usually when my family converges at the hospital it’s because I’m having some sort of surgical procedure, but last week my Dad had a spinal fusion under the very capable hands of Dr. Michael Kasten. Between the amazing staff at Bronson Hospital and the mad skills of Dr. Kasten, my only worry is that my Dad is stubborn and won’t follow directions after he gets out of the hospital. Mr. MVP would say my stubbornness doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I appreciate that my daily life is not normal, but unfortunately my daily life as a professional patient is going to collide with your non-professional patient life every so often, so I thought I’d share how I handle my long days at the hospital. The most important part of what I bring, I suppose, is what I bring it in. I carry my LL Bean Quickload Carry-On Bag with me everywhere I go. This bag is small, but it holds an enormous amount, and it does it in an organized way. LL Bean also stands behind their bags, no questions asked, so if a zipper fails, the bag gets replaced. Here is how it all comes together:
I also carry a knitting bag, but that is for another post. This bag will hold a small knitting project if I need it to, but it also holds a lot more. In the top zippered part I store things I want to have handy like Burt’s Bees and sunscreen.
Here is a better idea of what I keep in there:
I use an old prescription bottle for my headphones and barrettes and I always have two Larabars on hand for Team VP. A headphone splitter is a must for when we want to watch a movie and a reusable bag that folds up into a tiny ball is a necessity. Of course Sunny Days all natural sunscreen and chattering teeth just in case I find a geocache. The eye drops are called Genteal and if you have dry eyes I’ve just solved your problem, because they are a miracle. Okay, on to the middle of the bag.
The middle is where I keep the bigger stuff and the things that I don’t want to get squashed. Here is a better look:
In the middle I have Kleenex, baby wipes, and during the warmer months I carry an instant ice pack just in case I over heat. I also carry my sunhat, sunglasses, Calamine lotion, antibiotic spray, anti-itchy spray, and lotion. I always have bandaids, dental floss, eye drops, and because my ears are very sensitive, ear plugs. I also carry a Gerber tool, small flashlight, plug adapter, micro-cloth, pencil and pens, and a harmonica. In case I need to jam.
My bag also has side pockets, one of which I use for medical supplies. This pocket has a neat feature that most bags don’t include; it’s insulated. I can stick an ice pack in the pocket on a hot day and my medications will stay at the correct temperature for up to 9 hours. Most people use this pocket for snacks, but this bag has given me a little extra time on good days to be away from the house. I will show you the pocket for informational purposes, only:
The other side also has a pocket and I call that the fun side. It has a dice game and a deck of cards. I could also fit a book here if I wanted too.
The ends of the bag have pockets as well.
When I know I’m going to be at the hospital for an entire day I will also bring my phone charger which fits in the top compartment of my bag and my MacBook and its charger which goes in my knitting bag. Before you start making fun of me, remember I am an epileptic and having a well thought out and well packed bag at all times, not only makes our lives easier, but it makes spending long stretches of time doing nothing more enjoyable. I am not only a professional patient, but because I am always prepared I am professionally patient.