So you might have noticed that I wasn’t posting a whole lot on Friday. That’s because I spent Thursday night/Friday morning in the hospital with a friend of mine. Luckily, he’s OK, but I did find myself lounging around in the waiting area wishing I’d thought ahead. Granted, we can’t always know when people are going to wake up in the middle of the night and pass kidney stones, but if you’re intending to visit a friend  in the hospital, here are some things you might want to bring:

  • Layers. Sometimes, you’re in a freezing cold room, and sometimes you’re in a ridiculously warm one. Bring a hoodie or cardigan since you never know.
  • Reading material. Hospital visits often involve a lot of “hurry up and wait,” so you’ll need something to keep you occupied, especially if you don’t like whatever’s playing on the closest TV. Books and magazines are a better call than iPods, since you’ll want to be able to hear if your name gets called or someone’s trying to contact you.
  • Coins and dollar bills. You’re most likely going to be relying on vending machines for snacks/drinks, especially if you’re there at 3 AM when the cafeteria isn’t open. Plus, if you get your cell phone confiscated – um, not that this happened to me or anything – you’ll need coins for a pay phone.
  • Pillows. If you’re going to be in the waiting room all night, it’s possible you might also fall asleep. Whatever helps keep you comfortable is worth bringing.
  • Whatever your friend or relative would like. Are they a gossip junkie? Make sure you bring the latest copies of Us Weekly and Star. Do they have a favorite stuffed animal or other thing from home? Bring it in and they’ll feel more at ease. However, you shouldn’t bring anything that could be unintentionally harmful. It may be tempting to sneak in their favorite junk food, but you never know what’s going to react badly with their medicine. It’s also possible, depending on what kind of treatment they’re getting, that your friend’s tastes have changed or that their immune system is compromised and food doesn’t taste the same to them anymore.
  • Contact numbers for loved ones. In the age of cell phones, it seems like nobody knows anyone’s phone number anymore. In case your cell phone is banned or doesn’t get service, keep a written list of relevant phone numbers handy.

Anyone else have tips of their own? Leave ’em in the comments.