Head and Neck Cancer: Items for Hospital and Home

1. Hygiene Essentials: PJs, light robe, and slippers with rubber soles to prevent slipping. If you’re a light sleeper eye mask and earplugs. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, skincare products, and hair care products if you prefer your own. Any medications you might be taking. My suggestions are to put all of these products in zip lock bags and place your name on it. If you wear contacts to bring your glasses. Outfit to wear home. I highly recommend a button-up shirt, loose pants, button-up sweater or zip-up sweatshirt.

2. A cell phone charger for your cell phone. Your laptop charger if you intend to bring one. I HIGHLY recommend a whiteboard and markers, or a packet of pens and a few legal pads to write. Depending on your specific HNC surgery, like me, you might not be able to talk right after surgery. It’s an easy way to answer questions quickly and to communicate.

3. Something I made and used, a card size sign one YES and one NO. Tape each to a pencil, pen or popsicle stick. It is an easy way of answering yes and no questions quickly by simply hold up the sign.

4. Entertainment such as books, magazines, puzzles, word cross puzzles, a notebook to draw/ sketch.

5. Music. The hospital is running 24 hours a day. To drown out the noise, I highly recommend enjoying your favorite music.

6. Photos of loved ones to brighten up your room and spirits.

7. For me button-up shirts, cardigans, sweatshirts with a zipper and pants with a tie or yoga pants were key after surgery.

8. Shoes that are comfortable and easy to put on without having to bend down to tie laces. Depending on your surgery you might not be able to bend down to tie your shoes for a bit of time.

9. Soft blankets, scarves, wraps that keep you warm and can gently cover/ protect new wounds/ tracheotomy when you leave the hospital, as well as throughout the healing process when outside of the home.

10. If possible, have your loved ones or caregivers gently massage your feet, help cut your nails, wash your hair until you are allowed to shower, and make sure you have Vaseline or Aquaphor for dry lips, hands, and feet.