What to pack in your hospital bag

November 7, 2018

Heading into the hospital for your first chemo? Have no clue what to pack? Have no fear! I’m Lily, an experienced hospital stay-er and two time cancer survivor and I’m here to help you with your hospital packing list! There are a few types of hospital stays to consider. There’s “Day At Clinic”, “Emergency Room Dash”, and “Long haul”.


The first of these we’ll go over is “Day At Clinic”. The name pretty much says it all. What I pack for this trip is pretty much the same as what goes into my everyday wheelchair bag, save for a few items:

  • Big water bottle- Gotta stay hydrated all day!

  • Money- For food and just in case  

  • Phone+earbuds+charger- Keep yourself occupied and in touch.

  • Something extra to do- Speaks for itself I think.

  • Meds- Docs might want to see them.

  • Comfort items for scans- Scans can be stressful! No shame friend!


Next up, we’ve got the “Long Haul”. This type of stay is usually for surgeries or chemo treatments. Here’s what I always bring:

  • My own blankets and pillows- Hospital blankets are scratchy and uncomfortable. Plus there’s something about the smell that makes me want to vomit.

  • Comfort items- To help you sleep and you know, bring comfort!

  • Chargers+headphones- Keep your devices in check.

  • Phone, laptop, tablet, etc.- Occupy yourself! The days are long and boring.

  • Snacks- The hospital will sell these, but sometimes you get a craving for something that they don’t have.

  • Changes of clothes, especially underwear- You can’t (and probably don’t want to) live in a hospital gown.

  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush if needed, etc.)- Keep yourself fresh!

  • Socks- Hospitals are cold. Bring some coziness with you!

  • Hand lotion- Hospitals are dry and we don’t want your skin to pay the price for that.

  • Earplugs- There are lots of sounds that can make it hard to sleep, and sleep is medicine in itself.


Last we’ve got the “Emergency Room Dash”. These can be scary. I hope you don’t experience too many of these. This is when you’ve got a fever or infection and you gotta go. I’ve experienced a few of these in my day. The important thing to remember is that you’ll be able to get things later, but now you’ve gotta go.

  • Phone+charger- Stay in touch and occupied.

  • Comfort item- These times can be scary!

  • Change of clothes- Keep yourself comfortable.

  • Blanket/pillow- See above.

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