World Arnold Chiari Malformation Association
Going to the Hospital

1. Your own pillows from home or better yet!......A Surgery Special from  For more information on Chiari Pillows, go to or  (Be sure to use colored/patterned pillowcases so they do not get mixed up in the hospital linens.)

2. Your personal telephone/address book.

3. A prepaid long distance calling card.

4. Munchies or snack items from home.  Often times, when your appetite
returns, hospital food leaves much to be desired, and the snacks are just
enough to satisfy the cravings as well as get some necessary calories. The
prepackaged cheesy crackers, or peanut butter crackers seem to be a favorite!

5. Hard candies or throat lozenges.   During surgery, you will have
an intebation tube down your throat, and afterwards it can leave it feeling a
bit raw and sore for a couple of days. 

6. A notebook and pen/pencil.  This was really helpful to have for when the
doctors came in during rounds, and you/or someone else could make a few notes
as to what was discussed, and so forth.  Also, it is good to have when you get
a question or something you want to discuss with him/her and they are not
available-- you can just jot it down for future discussion. Also can be used
to make notes of your favorite nurses' name for a thank you card later, or a
making a list of visitors that called.

7. Books on tape or else in large print.   Those days can get to be very long,
and it does help to have a diversion.

8. A cassette "boombox" or c/d player with your favorite music.  This was
suggested by almost everyone that contributed to this list, as well as a good
supply of music. (Ear or headphones if you have them are a good idea as well).

9. Chapstick or Blistex is really handy to have, since the hospital air tend
to be very drying, especially to your lips.

10. Your own toiletries, shampoos and lotions.   Especially the lotion!

11. Lots of extra socks.  It seems that your feet are cold afterwards, and
those hospital booties are not exactly comfy between the sheets.

(web guys commentary:   ..and you can roll up the socks and throw them into a waste
basket like you're Michael Jordan if you get bored)
12.Your own pajamas or sleeping wear such as an oversized T-shirt and
boxer shorts. Go for comfort rather than style on this one! Those breezy
hospital gowns leave a lot to be desired rather quickly.

13. This one is very important, and should maybe be at the TOP of the list ...
An advocate for you--the patient.  Someone who can speak on your behalf, and
communicate when you are unable to do so.  There will be a day or two that you
will not be able to be very verbal in your needs, but this person (an adult
child, spouse, lover, parent, best friend, companion, pastor-clergy, etc...)
can communicate with the medical staff on your behalf to get you pain
medication, or water, or whatever you may be needing!  This is a necessity...
Although the nursing staff at your hospital may be very talented and giving,
they are BUSY people, with a big patient load.  It is helpful to them, as well
as to you, to arrange on having an advocate to help in your care.

14.Talk with your advocate and ask him/her to screen phone calls, as well as
make the necessary calls to extended family and friends.  They can also
monitor visitors and see that you are getting the rest you need.  Well-
intented visitors and phone callers can tire you and DELAY your healing

15. A hat, cap, or turban for the "new" hairdo.  Many people are concerned as
to their newly shaved scalp and feel better with a bit of a cover up on.
Beware of anything that may bind in the back, though. 

16. Favorite framed photos.  Eases the "loneliness" as well as provides good
conversation topics for staff and visitors.

17.Thank you note cards.  If you are feeling up to it, or maybe a friend or
spouse can write them for you as the flowers or gifts are received Remember
that in most hospitals, flowers are not allowed in the ICU units, and you may
be there for a few hours right after surgery.

18. Ear plugs. Hospitals can be noisy places. Bring good ones, not the cheap
ones. You'll sleep better and rest better. 

**Most hospitals will tell you not to bring anything from home, as they do not
want the liabilities of lost/stolen personal property.  This is very
understandable; however it is in your very best interests to bring the items
that will be of comfort and help to you during your stay.  Many of us have had
to travel a long distance to have surgery, and do not have the opportunity to
send someone home to get the item which we need or desire, i.e., favorite
pillow.  My point is: do not let the hospital guidelines or rules distract
from your need to be comfortable. YOU come first!

Also remember that more isn't necessarily better.
Just bring what you feel you NEED. In most cases you'll be in and out in
4-6 days. It's not necessary to bring a moving van full of stuff that will
just sit in your hospital closet

This list compiled by: Nancy Nickelson & the WACMA Support group.
Please e-mail Nancy ( ) for additions or comments.


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