Transplant Checklist: Get Ready for the Call!

ChecklistThe testing is finally over and you’ve gotten the good news, you’re on the list! Now comes the long days of waiting, and the stress of having to be ready at all times to head to the hospital when the call comes.

It took me several weeks after I made the list to finally get my bag packed and myself ready.  I talked to my transplant center and reached out to friends on Facebook to gather their suggestions on what to take. Even with lots of input beforehand, my husband still ended up shuttling necessities back and forth to me throughout my hospital stay. And then there was the mad scramble to get everything ready for my homecoming! If only there had been a checklist ….

Well, now there is! With additional advice from the transplant community and insights from my own experience, I’ve created a checklist of what to bring with you, what to prepare ahead, and what to have ready for your recovery at home.

Let me preface everything with a reminder that an organ transplant is complex and all-encompassing, It’s a shock not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Apart from a few basic supplies, concentrate on creating calm and comfort for yourself.  Don’t worry about appearances. If it works for you, it’s important. Remember, too, that these are just suggestions. Pack what you are most likely to use.

Hospital Bag Checklist

Basic Essentials

  • Toothbrush (new/unused)
  • Toothpaste
  • Brush and/or comb
  • Lip balm (new/unused)
  • Lotion (the hospital supplies this, but if you prefer a specific brand or scent, bring your own)
  • Hand sanitizer (I kept a small bottle so I had it available whenever I needed it)
  • Dry shampoo (sponge baths only for the first three weeks!)

Comfort Suggestions (Whatever works for you)

  • A favorite pillow or blanket (wash well)
  • Stuffed animal or other “snuggly” (clean well)
  • Pajamas and/or robe (you’ll be in a gown until the catheter is removed, and on a heart monitor the entire stay. If you choose to wear your own PJs, bring a few pairs so you can stay fresh

Entertainment and Communication (Distractions!)

  • Phone (to keep everyone updated, take pictures of your progress, etc)
  • Tablet or eReader (watch movies, read books, post to Facebook, etc.)
  • iPod and headphones
  • Books and Magazines
  • Notebook and pen (write questions for your doc, document your thoughts and feelings, or use it communicate if you are trached and can’t talk)
  • Disposable camera with flash (if you want photos from surgery. Confirm with your center that they allow this. Keep the camera sealed in its foil pouch and write your name on it)

Other Suggestions (Confirm first with your center)

  • Gum
  • Mints or hard candy
  • Small snacks

Home Needs Post-Transplant

  • Clean and sanitary (infection is always a threat. Hire a service or ask family/friends to clean the house before you get home. Remember germ hoarders like door knobs and light switches)
  • Shower chair or bench (you’ll be weak for awhile and don’t want to risk a fall)
  • Raised toilet seat (high-dose prednisone especially turns quadriceps into jelly)
  • Protein drinks and snacks (you may have little appetite when you get home — protein is essential for healing)
  • Full-time Caregiver(s) (Until you can drive, you will need transportation to and from frequent clinic and therapy appointments. For the first two to three weeks as gain strength, you may also need help with things like preparing and taking your meds, meal prep, basic chores,  etc.)

Your transplant center will have its own checklist for you. Different centers have different policies and requirements, which always take precedence over suggestions you find here or anywhere else. But this is a start, and will help get you thinking and planning.

Do you have additional suggestions? What were your “must haves” during your recovery both in the hospital and at home? Please share you thoughts in the comments below.





7 thoughts on “Transplant Checklist: Get Ready for the Call!

  1. This is Wanda I live in Memphis TN. Just yesterday I was accepted to the UAB lung transplant program. After 9 months of test and more test they say they can transplant me. I want you to know I appreciate your insight and experience with your transplant. Can you tell me if you have or had any issues with the post transplant drugs? How do you feel now that it’s been 2 years since getting new lungs. How did the pics of the surgery turn out. I’m goi g to ask my surgeon if he’ll do that for me.

  2. I use paper wipes to dry my hands that I buy at the store. They are in a box right by the napkins. The box hangs upside down where a towel would normally hang….works great!
    Have a giant bottle of hand sanitizer at the front door. No one comes near you to visit without using it first.
    Books, stuffed animals,carpets are all cesspools of ickies. Whatever you can get rid of, do it. I got an IPad so now all my books are on that.
    Buy individual serving sized food for yourself. Sharing with others is a no no. Once others have put their hand in a bag you can’t eat out of it so teach you family to pour into bowls or use spoons for dips. I went to SAMs/costco for individual bags for chips. I got single serve peanut butter, jelly, and salad dressing. The safer you make your world the better chance you have.
    Clorox in blue bottle is in every room…sanitizer!

    • Lots.of g pod ideas, Denise. I especially like keeping hand sanitizer near the.door. I’ve also switched to paper towels for drying my hands in the bath and kitchen. Plus one more bennie of transplant — we always get to serve ourselves first!

  3. Thanks Lori!! The after list will go to my daughter 🙂 I’m going to have to start germ free for the winter with door knobs etc. I don’t want to end up in the hospital with a lung infection when winter comes

    • We go through a lot of Clorox wipes at my house! Faucets, appliance handles, cabinet knobs. And after tx I was told to dry my hands on paper towels. Lots of good hand washing is your best defense!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s