With a new diagnosis comes uncharted territory for all that lie ahead on the cancer journey. You will find that your life becomes minute by minute and changes very quickly from one second to the next. This is the roller coaster of cancer. Shortly after Emmy was diagnosed we abruptly realized it was necessary to have a emergency hospital bag ready to go when our first bout of fever and uncontrolled vomiting happened at 1 am one early morning. I was on the phone with the Dr on-call and frantically running all throughout the house throwing everything I could think of in a bag to load up as we prepared and headed downtown to the ER. It was after that night that I decided that although I have very little control over most things, I could control the controllables and having an emergency bag was one of those things that helped for the other 3 times we had middle of the night emergencies. So without further ado, here is what went into our emergency hospital bag:
Ziplock bags with clothes: I packed 3 to 4 outfits for Emmy and 3 to 4 for myself, along with a couple sets of pajamas. I put them in Ziplocks so that I knew that each bag had what we needed in it for one day (socks and underwear included) and it also helped me know what needed to be washed when we returned home. The last thing you want is to have to rummage through a bunch of clothes not knowing if you have enough or if they’re dirty or not. Organization can help bring a little order to a wealth of chaos. Every little bit helps.
Lidocaine cream (AKA Magic Cream) & Press N Seal- for port access and/or peripheral blood draws.
Protective Face Mask- When your child is neutropenic and counts are low, siting in an ER waiting room can be rather scary because of germs and risk of infection. Having your child wear a face masks alerts others around you to take precaution as well as protects your child from putting their hands in their mouth or nose. Here is the one we use for Emmy. (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZWNO5H/ref=twister_B07GH6F7X2?_encoding=UTF8&th=1)
Slippers for in the room / Flip flops for shower, bathroom, or walking the halls.
Cozy blanket: Emmy and I both had a hospital blanket each. They just stayed in our bag and brought comfort through long hospital nights.
Extra chargers for electronics: tablets, phones, computer, whatever electronic devices you use….
Diapers/Pull Ups and Wipes: If your child is out of diapers and potty trained, wipes can still be a huge help for various things while your little is mostly in a bed and hooked up to an IV pool.
Snacks: Some of Emmy’s favorite go to snacks and a few for me. We bought non perishable so they could just stay in the bag.
Bottles/Sippy Cups/Bottle brush: Emmy was still using sippy cups when she was diagnosed. I made sure to have a bottle brush to wash it out in our room.
Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, shampoo, soap, etc….
Books/Bible whatever you like to read or do to help pass the waiting
Diffuser and Essential Oils: Oils have been another big comfort and help during treatment. Every time we were admitted I was sure to have a diffuser going in our room to help fight off any germs, and also make it smell more like home.
Bag of “special” toys for entertainment: We kept some hospital toys in a bag to help pass the time. These were strictly reserved for the hospital so they were kept interesting.
I still get a knot in my stomach as I think of our late/middle of the night emergencies. Driving to the ER in worry and darkness with a child who is VERY sick. They were some of our toughest and scariest moments yet in the life of our family. As I write this tonight, I can’t help but think of all the moms or dads who will fall asleep next to their babies hooked up to machines, or the middle of the night emergency tests being run in which they have to comfort their child through exhaustion and fear when all they wish is for them to be cozy and warm tucked into their bed at home. There is no way to prepare yourself for the things you will see, hear, or have to do … but even though we will never know what a day or a night will hold, we know WHO holds the day and the night …. and I chose to rest my fears in Him and try to bring some physical comfort in something as simple as a bag.
“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”