Sunday, February 23, 2014

New to Childhood Cancer Tips: Helpful items

I thought I'd assemble a list of the things I wish I knew we needed straight away when Grace was first diagnosed. At least for our family, these things worked well for us.

List of Helpful Items:

  • Oversized hand sanitizers, the alcohol type only, one in every room and near every door
  • Signs around the house reminding me to sanitize and wash hands. Also in the car
  • Waterproof mattress protector sheets, two or more. I did Grace's bed potty-training style. First the waterproof sheet, then a fitted sheet. Then another waterproof sheet, then another fitted mattress. That way if she vomited all over her bed in the middle of the night, I could peel off one sheet and have a dry, clean sheet underneath. You may also want to get a waterproof pillow protector to under the pillowcase. We also had extra pillows, blankets, and pjs at the ready.
  • A fold out mattress, the camping type, for me to sleep on her floor when needed
  • A baby monitor in her bedroom and one in the bathroom. The bedroom is obvious, but sometimes in the night Grace would be too weak to climb off the potty by herself and would get stuck. The bathroom monitor made it easier to make sure she got help if needed in the night. We got the really cheap ones
  • Flushable wipes and "butt paste." The chemo can burn on the way out, so the butt paste helped with that and the flushable wipes helped make sure each bottom wiping was thorough. Costco and Target both sell their own brand of flushable and/or toddler wipes
  • Pull-Ups. Even though Grace is potty trained, when we had overnight stays at the hospital she was getting fluids 24/7. Sometimes she couldn't get to the potty quick enough in the night. We had her wear them at night just for extra protection
  • Pre-packed suitcase, kept in the car for emergency trips to the hospital
  • A backpack for mom. I kept mine loaded with laptop, books, toys and snacks for hospital days
  • A good supply of craft kits, coloring books, a snuggles blanket and movies for bringing on hospital day
  • Lunchbox packed with food for hospital days. When Grace was on steroids her appetite was amazing and we didn't always have quick access to food when at the hospital
  • Dog-poop bags in dispenser. These make great barf-bags and can clip onto the backpack for quick access. 
  • Also mini hand sanitizer that clip onto the backpack
  • Extra phone chargers. I had an extra to keep in my backpack and one for the car. Also extra chargers for the laptop/ipad
  • A umbrella stroller, for kids under 50lbs. They fold to be very compact and are great for when the kids are weak from steroids. Overall our doctor encouraged us to let Grace walk, but for even across the hospital, it was too far for her
  • A notebook. Each week we printed out a list of her meds for each day (a morning list and evening list) so we could cross them off and note when, how much, pain experienced, etc. It kept life much more manageable and the notes were really helpful when talking with her doctor on how the week went
  • Clorox wipes and Lysol spray
  • A "Seal-Tight Cast Guard" for the bathtub. This one works wonders! It has a rubber insert for the arm that worked better than anything else we tried. My mom found it at a medical supply store for $20 but it's also available on Amazon. Now that Grace is getting a port tomorrow, we won't need ours anymore
  • PICC covers, made from girly leg warmers
  • Separate toothbrush holder so Grace's toothbrush doesn't accidentally touch her brother's. We also bought a few extras, in case one of hers fell on the ground, we'd have a clean one ready. Dirty toothbrushes were sanitized in the dishwasher
  • Extra bath towels. I was paranoid about bacteria growing on her damp towel so I bought enough to have a clean, dry towel for every day between washes

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