For day 4 of the Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week, I thought about what it was like when newly diagnosed, back in 2012. I thought about what things I never knew I’d have needed and had I known what would help, I wouldn’t have struggled as much as I did!
I asked multiple IBD Sufferers what their top essentials were and this is what the feedback I got; Spare pants and clothes is a MUST, especially when travelling. You may also need baby wipes to clean and freshen up. Medications such as Imodium and Dioralyte which helps to stop Diarrhoea and rehydrate you. Pain relief that you have prescribed to you however if you don’t have any it’s definitely worth talking to your doctor about getting some or a referral to a Pain Clinic. A hot water bottle is also really good but don’t leave it on for too long as you can burn your skin even over clothes! It is really handy if you have a netflix account on your phone, iPad or tablet so that time spent on the toilet is a little less isolating and sometimes can be seriously boring sitting there unable to move! Having a refillable water bottle is ideal especially to keep on top of your fluid intake. Now, it’s a true story that so many of us have more pyjamas than actual clothes! So, having plenty pyjamas is great and also loose leggings and jogging bottoms! If you suffer from constipation with your IBD then it’s important to have laxatives prescribed to you! Sanitary pads are a must for either diarrhoea or constipation in case an accident happens. If you suffer from sore or swollen joints there is a really good gel out there called Voltarol, but you can also use ice packs and hot water bottles for that – you will find which works best for you. A thermometer can be handy, meaning that if you have any infection and receiving antibiotics it’s good to keep an eye on your temperature.
Many of us love a teddy to snuggle into at night or during hospital visits and can bring you comfort no matter what age you are! For me, I find so much comfort having my dogs. Having a little furry friend can really help those dark days seem brighter. When I’m sick they are always there nursing me and protecting me! Having family and friends around is essential as part of your journey in any illness. Online support groups and friends can make such a huge difference too, having the contact and help when needed. Any questions you can’t ask anyone face to face; the online support groups have people in there just like you who have unanswered questions. For those who have a stoma with IBD a skin barrier spray is absolutely an essential! I also really recommend Calamine Lotion for burnt skin. And the same applies from above, incase a leak happens. In terms of diet it’s important to look into what you can and cannot eat. If you are struggling with your weight, getting supplement drinks can really benefit you! (Keeping them in the fridge is great to help with drinking them.) Many people also suggested Vaseline, Bepanthen, Sudocream and Germaloids cream for the dreaded rectal pain that comes along after toilet trips! I found that whilst in hospital, an ice pack was great relief when my rectum was really sore, of course do not apply this directly to the skin! Use a towel or paper towel before applying to the area, preventing any damage to the skin and infection.
Whilst in a hospital admission it’s also important to know which essentials you will need whilst in hospital. Before you go in it’s always important to pack a bag with things you need!
Here is a list of items that you may want to pack:
- Any medication that is prescribed to you.
- Clean pyjamas and a spare pair just incase!
- Plenty of unwear.
- Fluids such as water or your favourite juice and some snacks for if and when you are able to eat!
- Slippers – if you are walking around you don’t want to get dirty feet and it’s prevention of infection on the wards.
- Phone charger!
- A book, iPad or tablet to keep you entertained.
- Toiletries such as deodorant, body wash, dry shampoo and a hair brush.
- Baby wipes and/or face wipes and also antibacterial wipes.
- Hand cream and lip balm for dryness.
- Hair bobbles or elastic hair bands
- Spare stoma supplies (if you have a stoma.)
- Skin care routine things that you would normally use at home.
- Pen and paper incase you forget things such as questions to ask or writing down what Doctors or Consultants say incase you have to pass it on to family members.
- If you drink decaffeinated coffee or tea, take in your own or ask a family member or friend to bring it in for you.
- Dirty laundry bag for your dirty clothing to be taken home and washed, preventing infection too.
- Last but not least the most important one…. a snuggly blankie!
I hope this will help you during your journey with IBD and also in hospital admissions!