For my husband, an amazing patient. I hope you're not a hospital patient for a long, long time after this.
Everyone needs an advocate when they're in the hospital. Without someone to look out for your interests, make sure you get your meds on time, fetch you popsicles, it would be hard to be a patient in a hospital, largely confined to a bed. J-bird has been in the hospital since Monday, when he had surgery related to his Crohn's Disease. Someone has been there with him for almost every minute he's been there, and he's needed it.
What else might you need for a hospital stay?
Electronics/books/magazines to keep you occupied
Copy of your Advanced Directive/Living Will
Comfy clothes for when you're finally able to get dressed
**Photos of you with your family
Why are photos so important? I think it helps the nurses and doctors connect to the patient as a person, and not just another patient. I made a page with photos for J-bird and wrote encouraging messages around the page. I put the page in a sheet protector so it wouldn't get yucky in the hospital-- honestly you never know what kind of fluids will be around. It gives him something to discuss with nurses besides his urine output and frequent popsicle requests. It makes him a person. It shows that he has people who need him.
Being in the hospital and recovering from a major illness or surgery is hard enough without adding in the mental components of hospitalization. You're isolated from the world, mostly stuck in a bed or chair, usually wearing a hospital gown, and often go for a while without regularly bathing. You have no real schedule, especially if you're not able to eat. There are no meals to divide your day, and people are in at all hours of the night to check vitals, draw blood, replenish IV fluids, administer meds.
Having only been hospitalized for Goose's birth, I imagine that it's hard to feel like a human and it's easy to get depressed when you're in the hospital for any amount of time. Having items there to keep you occupied and that remind you of home/your normal life (laptop, magazines, books) is important. Spending time with people who know and love you is also extraordinarily helpful. You remember that the hospital isn't your life, it's just what you're stuck doing for a short period of time. You are not defined by your illness, you are more than a patient. You're you.
If you're hospitalized or act as an advocate for someone who is-- Be positive. Speak up. Ask questions. It makes all the difference.