Why a "Home Away From Home Bag" Can Mean The World

For the last two weeks I've spent exactly 12 days in the hospital, visited three different emergency rooms and attempted sleep in some of the most uncomfortable chairs known to man. I would have settled for even the smallest glimpse or comfort of home, that's why tonight I packed a "Home Away From Home Bag."

While most of our Apartment Therapy writers were full of holiday cheer and busy filling you in on the latest seasonal trends, I was playing nursemaid to my husband who had some rather serious medical complications. Although the medical professionals we spoke with were reassuring with their words it was difficult to find peace of mind when we were spending so much time away from home.

Obviously I've spent a night or two away from home in my life, but usually in such instances you have a chance to pack a few necessities before you leave. In this case, spending time out of the house wasn't planned and there were a few things I packed tonight that would have come in quite handy over the previous series of events. Here's what made the cut, if you've had a similar experience, make sure to add your own top choices in the comments below!

• Coleman Bio Wipes: A good shower can cure most ills, but when time or circumstance don't afford you such a luxury, these are a great standby. They're bio-degradable, but more importantly don't leave you smelling like a bottle of Febreeze. They clean and are larger than a baby wipe, so they get the job done and you can go about your life.

• Mini Toiletries: Although most doctors will understand that you haven't had a chance to run home to brush your teeth or put on more deodorant, that doesn't mean you'll be comfortable within your own skin. Mini toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash and a pack of gum all made their way into the kit. A comb, hair tie and bandanna also made the cut.

• Underpants: Because even if you can faux-shower with a bio wipe above, clean underpants are a must.

• Shelf Stable Snacks: Although vending machines are starting to carry a more healthy variety of foods, that doesn't mean you want to eat out of them solely for two weeks straight. Sure there's fast food or gas station food, but leaving to get such things isn't always an option either. Meal replacement energy bars are a good place to start, candy bars for quick sugar and even juice boxes can be a good thing to toss in.

• Travel Pillow & Blanket: You can acquire pillows and blankets that are super small in size and although hospitals are never short on these items, tracking down a nurse to get one for you isn't always easy.

• Something For Nerves: Although a stiff drink doesn't travel well in a duffel bag, something like a deck of cards gives your hands something to do to help keep your mind off things or keep you alert. If you knit, add some yarn and needles and you'll be all set. A Kindle or Gameboy can also be a big help.

Hopefully the current medical complications have taken a back seat to the rest of our life for awhile, but we know many have gone through the same thing we have. Have you been in a similar situation before? What do you miss from home when you're away? Let us know below!

Image: Flickr member realSMILEY licensed for use by Creative Commons

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Sarah Trover has lived all across the Midwest and currently calls the hot dog-laden city of Chicago home. She rides scooters and seeks out kitchens that make the best pie.