With the Big Day just over a week away, I've started a working list of things to pack. Here's some of what I plan to bring to the hospital (in no particular order):
1. Playing cards--because E loves to play War.
2. E's Hello Kitty CD/tape player--so she can listen to her favorite music intead of all the alarms and buzzers, and P and J can listen to Kitty Cash. Kitty Cash is a bit of an inside joke for my hubby and his younger brother. They spent many long nights together while sitting vigil in the pediatric ICU during E's first hospitalization. As I understand it, one night while listening to Johnny Cash on the Hello Kitty CD player, one of them decided Johnny needed a new name...
3. CDs for E--current faves include Aaron McCartney, Cheetah Girls, Grease, Hillary Duff, and Aly and AJ.
4. Instant anti-bacterial soap--for all the high touch surfaces--like the bed rails, doorknobs, phone, and TV/nurse call/remote that never got cleaned during the three months we were in the hospital back in 2001. No joke. We were with E 24/7 back then and the only time we saw staff truly deep cleaning anything was one day during our three months. One day. I asked what was up, and was told the accreditation people were coming in unannounced sometime that week. No wonder so many patients end up contracting superbugs while they're "recovering."
5. E's glow stick--This is a nifty little thing, a slender pink wand the length of a finger, attached to a silky black cord. Our pastor gave it to E after church this past weekend. It's a mini glow stick. She can wear it the day of surgery if she wants. And if anyone asks what it is she can tell them it represents love and light and healing. She has it packed already.
6. Tiger quilt--Given to E during her first hospital stay by her Aunt P and Uncle J. The quilt boasts a bold tiger print on one side, and bright pink, yellow, orange, green and blue design on the other. It's a perfect way to brighten up a hospital room.
7. My journal--I take it everywhere these days. Unloading in it is often a necessity before I can make progress on Keeper's Song.
edited to add:
8. Pop-tops. We must have thousands of them by now, collected from family and friends for Ronald McDonald House. When we stayed at the Ronald McDonald House near the University of Chicago Children's Hospital in 2001, volunteers told us recycling the pop tops raises enough money to cover most of the house's utility expenses. Not bad for one shiny bit of aluminum, huh? This time we'll be staying at the House near Children's Memorial. It's a short walk from the hospital, a beautiful stone home on a tree-lined street in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Should be a welcome respite from all the bells and alarms. Website if you're interested in taking a look at what will soon be our home away from home: www.rmhchinorth.org.