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What to Take to Hospital

Updated: Apr 10, 2021


When you’re going through the emotions of having an operation (whether stressed or excited, nervous or calm), your mind will be in a thousand places at once. Here’s my easy checklists for what to take when going to hospital for an operation.

Beth wearing a hospital gown before an operation.


  • Button-up shirt/loose fitting top You don’t want to pull a jumper over your sore post-surgical face - turtlenecks are a no go.

  • Baggy trousers Post-surgery you want to be as comfortable as possible so make sure your trousers are easy to get on and off, especially for hip bone-grafts.

  • Layers Hospitals can go to from hot to cold in a matter of minutes (or at least it can feel like that when you’re recovering from surgery), so make sure you don’t limit your options.

  • Underwear

  • Dressing gown

  • Slippers


  • Tooth brush

  • Tooth paste

  • Vaseline/hand cream

  • Flannel

  • Bar of soap There will be soap in the bathroom you use, but it can often feel a bit nicer when it’s your own – same applies for a towel, but remember you won’t have loads of space.

  • Sanitary products Just because you’re having surgery, it doesn’t mean you won’t be on your period.

For entertainment

  • Nintendo DS or iPod touch Something portable and electrical that’s not a phone (save on battery)

  • Headphones

  • Phone

  • Book

  • Magazine I wouldn’t recommend food magazines: before an op you’ll be ‘nil by mouth’ and jealous of anyone eating anything, and afterwards for most cleft operations your mouth/face will be very sore, so it may be awhile until you can eat normally again.

  • Drawing/colouring book with pens/pencils Or something that doesn’t involve a screen (staring at a screen would make me feel sick after a while due to the anaesthetic, plus this doesn’t depend on being near enough to a charging point).

Don’t take

  • Valuables Any unnecessary jewellery and be aware with electronics – unless you have someone to look after them for you, the hospital often can’t be responsible for them if you put them with your clothes.

  • Your best clothes This is a time to be comfy and to be realistic, often things like jeans post-op are your worst nightmare when you just want to be tired and chilled. Also, there may be a bit of blood or vomit at some point and the last thing you want to think is that you’ve got something on your favourite top.

  • Your worst clothes Although jeans post-op may not be the best idea, before the operation jeans or something more ‘normal’ can help you feel more at ease while you’re waiting. For my second jaw op I had to wait about 6 hours at the hospital and it definitely helped to just wear what I would normally to an appointment rather than feeling weird in a tracksuit I hardly wore (just make sure you have something chilled to change into).

Make sure you always check what the hospital letter tells you to bring - there are often limits to space or extra things to remember, e.g. any medication you regularly take.


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