|They should have signs like this dotted around hospitals. (Original source unknown)|
This photo makes me laugh because I have a theory that the world would be a very different place if mirrors didn't exist. I scribbled down my logically thought out argument for this in a notebook some years ago and if it resurfaces, I will let you know of the ins and outs but here is the general gist - No mirrors, therefore you're unlikely to know what you look like (unless you caught sight of yourself on something naturally reflective like pond water on a particularly lucky day). Not knowing what you look like, therefore severely reducing the likelihood of you comparing yourself on a superficial level with those around you. And think of the impact that would have on confidence, relationships, stigma and prejudice.
I realise that that is a ridiculously simplistic theory with hundreds of flaws, but do you see the point I'm trying to make? It is unimportant what we look like in the grand scheme of things. But we are socialised to believe that there is a certain way to care for your appearance. Don't get me wrong, I'm aware that we have created social norms for tidiness and hygiene. But when you're stripped back and vulnerable, in hospital for example, what does it matter what you've done with your outsides aesthetically; it is the internal treasures that are keeping you alive.
It is entirely possible that I am speaking absolute nonsense and this may be an occasion where my thoughts haven't splattered in ink as coherently as they flow in my head. Let me know what you think.
In the meantime, here are my suggestions for what to take if you're going to be staying in hospital.
- Something to pass the time as you wait for your surgery/procedure, such as a relatively easy-going book, magazine, tablet, newspaper, sudoku puzzle book, a deck of cards...and so on and so forth.
- Comfy clothes or pyjamas/nightie in case the gowns are too itchy or if you're craving home comforts
- Any medication you usually take
- Any documents you might need such as hospital letters
- A bottle of water for when you are finally allowed a drink post-procedure
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, period equipment and other toiletries
- Wet wipes for when the nurses don't have time to help you wash in bed
- Hand gel
- Something which makes you feel warm inside - I chose Twining's Double Mint Sensation tea bags to escape the terrible cups of tea the catering services make, but you could take anything which makes you feel more at home.
Most staff will be wonderful to you, others will be more pressed for time, but usually people want to help so if you need anything don't be afraid to ask. As I pointed out in a post last week, don't underestimate the kindness of strangers. And if you're like me and you enjoy a quotation (or gazillion) found on Pinterest, try living by the mantra "Never suppress a generous thought". I have that stuck on my fridge. I like to think that if everyone had that stuck on their fridges too, we'd all have more of a spring in our step.