Lou 'bumped' the thread from February (thanks!)
Here's the link to it, and I linked this thread in that one. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2782
One thing I noticed in that thread were lots of recommendations for things like boxers and t-shirts, to replace the hospital gowns. While I agree that a light robe is a good idea, because they will get you up and walking pretty fast and hospital gowns hide nothing, one big thing to consider if you're planning to wear your own clothes while in the hospital is, who's going to do your laundry? Think you won't need to change them every day, that a couple pairs of boxers and a couple tees will hold you? Think again!
-- you're going to have stitches and drains for most of your hospital stay. They are in inconvenient places that often don't lend themselves to wearing either tees or boxers. Stitches bleed and ooze; JP drains leak. That's one tee shirt and/or pair of boxers that will need to be laundered.
-- you're going to have a urinary catheter for at least part of your stay. It's inconvenient, it runs down your leg, and you often leak (and all that walking/movement can make it worse...Depends super-absorbency level worse.)
-- the last thing you'll likely want anywhere near stitches, drains or catheters is a waistband. Even pulling one on/off can be a PITA.
One day one of my two JP output drains just kept leaking/oozing all day. Hospital gowns (I used three that day) are free, and the people who clean them don't have to do that laundry at 10 pm after commuting home from their visit to the hospital. Your situation may be different, but whether you're at a home area hospital, or in a hospital out of town, your caregivers will be spending time at the hospital that already disrupts their normal schedules. They maybe don't need to be doing your laundry, too. If they're out of town, they may not be able to do your laundry--at least not easily. The alternative--packing enough boxers and tees to handle a couple of unexpected changes a day, for even a five or six day hospital jaunt, means you're not going to be travelling light.
How many changes could you possibly need, you ask? I mean, I won't be there that long, will I?
Well--the first time, for tumor resection, ostomy and HAI pump placement, I was in the hospital for 10 days.
The second time, for liver resection, I was in and out in 6 days.
In April, the stay that provoked this post, I was in for 17 days, released for 5 days, and readmitted for another 10 day stay due to spiking fever from a massive UTI for a whopping record of 27 days in hospital. Even one change a day would have required 14 days worth of my own clothes, and assumed that my younger brother would have time to throw in a load of my laundry between working his regular job, spending time in the hospital with me, and meeting with doctors.
And remember, I was trying to pack light, because I know by now that post surgery, I'll be on weight lifting/carrying restrictions of 10 lbs or less.
This last stay, I had a urinary catheter the whole time, and was sent home with the catheter so that the uretral reconnection could heal. I had about 200 stitches and two JP drains, which were removed in the hospital--but the JP drains leaked a lot for the first 10 days. Best of all, after discharge I was only at Miracle House for about five days until I spiked a fever and was readmitted from MSKCC Urgent Care for another 10 days. That's a lotta boxers and tees. After the first discharge, my mother was staying with me at MH. She offered to do the laundry I'd accumulated, but couldn't figure out how to use their card operated laundry machines--and I was too weak to go downstairs with her that day (busy spiking that fever!) So I'm not kidding about the laundry--it really can get to be a problem, and when you're out of clothes, the last thing you want to be doing when you most want to try to feel better is doing sniff tests on your laundry to figure out if it can go one more day!
OTOH, bring one robe, and use the hospital gowns, and you won't need extra laundry done. Maybe bring one or two tees to change into if you're not having any other issues...but as someone who didn't need any of the underwear I'Od packed for a potential month-long stay in NYC because I was in Depends from about three days post-op until long after I'd left NYC for home, I'd definitely skip the boxers.
Mileage, of course, will vary.
Also, in the other thread someone mentioned bringing pain relievers and reusable hot/cold packs from home. Again--I can't think of a hospital that would let you take your own meds without making a production out of it--if you need pain meds, use what they give you and ask for something different if you need it. And I wouldn't pack my own hot/cold pack...it's a hospital. They have those things there, and how will you disinfect yours after it's been in a hospital?
Hospitals also have their own supplies of ostomy stuff, women's sanitary napkins, and some variety of Depends (although I did have my brother go buy me some Depends that fit me better.) I brought my own toothbrush, toothpaste and unscented deoderant, dental floss, a small magnifying mirror and tweezers, and Listerine mouthwash spray. I also brought a few OralB finger pads that are impregnated with toothpaste--supposed to be portable, water free toothbrushes, and handy to have at the bedside. And I brought a pair of crocs easy on sandals to walk with--because otherwise you're wearing into your bed the same hospital socks that you just used to walk around the public floors.
Also, I've always brought my cellphone/charger and used that instead of the room phone. Most hospitals are giving up that 'don't use your cell phone in hospital areas' nonsense. The only place a cell phone is going to interfere with the machinery is in a radiation or imaging lab--and your little bitty cell phone signal isn't going to disrupt the machines. The machines are going to kill your cell phone.
If you're hospitalized at MSKCC, the admissions people actually TELL you to bring your cell phone and not bother turning on the phone in the room. It's also a lot easier to keep your cell phone with you (those hospital gowns have pockets), but it's often a stretch to reach the hospital room phone--and the last thing you want to do with a full kick line of post-op stitches is stretch anywhere.