Top 5 INVISIBLE Things Patients Should Bring To The Hospital

The day before patients enter the hospital, they usually pack a travel bag.

Some patients mistakenly pack a big bag of stuff as if they were vacationing in Hawaii. The reality? You will only need a few, personal items during your time in the hospital.

In thinking about it… I believe the invisible, interpersonal things that patients bring to the hospital are incredibly important. That said, here are my top 5 invisible things that patients should pack in their minds:

  1. Courage – Yes. You will need a whole lot of courage throughout your hospital stay. Even though statistics suggest your surgical result will be good, that will not stop the fear, uncertainty and doubt that impacts most patients. Courage became one of my best friends in the ICU and in room 550 at USC Medical Center (my hospital).
  2. Trust – Patients should bring A LOT of trust with them to the hospital. Trust in the hospital. Trust in their support group. And, most importantly, trust in their surgeon. If you don’t have trust, DO NOT go to the hospital! Step back from this process and conduct more diligence on your diagnosis, your procedure and your surgeon.
  3. Healthy Thoughts – I’ll never forget what I said to Doug, my brother, the night before my aortic valve was replaced. As tears floated on my eyelids, I said through the phone, “Tomorrow will be a great day!” At that time, my valve was very diseased with both regurgitation and stenosis. Plus, my heart was already dilated. That said, I was very excited to start the healing process so I began thinking healthy thoughts. (To learn  more about aortic valve replacement operations, click here.)
  4. Patience – Once surgery is complete, patients immediately enter the recovery process. For me, this was very dislocating. I had issues all around me – the tubes, the noises, the pain, the sweats, etc. Within the first 24 hours after surgery, I realized how critical the cliche, “Patience is a virtue” is for heart surgery patients. Patients need to be patient!
  5. Love – Bring A LOT of love to the hospital. As the heart is the international symbol of love, it really helped me to share my love for my wife, for my friends, for my family, for my medical team, and most importantly… for my stitched heart.

I hope this helps you better understand the invisible things that helped me and other patients in the hospital.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Sarah in McKinney, Texas

    I like your list of invisible things to take to the hospital. One thing I took that I think might be helpful is a sense of humor. Yes, I know it is hard to think of humor at a time like open heart surgery, but believe me, it helps! As you recover and heal, there are always some funny things along the way that give you and your caregivers the chuckles…and laughter is a great healer! When I needed help at night getting back into an upright position I’d let my nurse know that I was a “beached whale” again and needed help. Humor heals so don’t forget to take it along!

  • joyce wright

    I would add knowledge. ( a little knowledge of your condition and of what to expect can aleve a great deal of anxiety during your stay.)
    I would also add that you should have a close friend or relative on call to do for you or to be your advocate if needed.

  • Barbara

    One thing to LEAVE at home. Your so-called power. Let the doctors, nurses and those trained to care be the ones who control the event; just go along for the ride. 🙂

    I look forward to your emails, to prepare if and when I need the surgery at UCLA. Thanks for being there. Barbara

  • Jon

    Faith – My surgery is Friday and I have been needless to say nervous and crying all week. My minister came over tonight and it was nice to realize God is with me through this. Whatever it may be for someone …faith or a higher power it helps ease the soul. By the way I love this list the night before I am going into the hospital …my wife has enlarged it and I am taking the “LIST” to the hospital!!

  • Great comments everybody!!!

    Perhaps this should be extended from a “Top 5” to a “Top 10” list!!!

    Keep on tickin!


  • Dave Richards

    Let’s be a little practical also: bring an iPod. It works wonderfully to drown out the hospital sounds at night.

Have A Question? Call Us at (888) 725-4311
P.O. Box 4049
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Phone: (888) 725-4311