My Grandma’s Deployment Bag

Grandma's deployment bag

Grandma’s deployment bag

In the comments to this post,

Tracy asked me what I pack in my emergency bag, which is the pink duffle bag you see to the left.  It’s roughly the size of a backback, with straps and everything just like a regular dufflebag, only about a third the size,  just the right size to sling it across my back and it won’t knock me over or hit my knees.  It’s dusty rose colour, and also the right size to use as a pillow if I need one.

two or three pairs of socks; I tend to prefer either plain organic cotton for comfort or bright, splashy, explosion of colour socks for joy because it’s a hospital, nobody really much cares what you are wearing, and it sometimes makes the kids smile you pass in the hallway. Plus, they make *me* smile.  But I don’t waste time looking for them.  I just grab the socks I find, and I happen to have a lot of colourful ones.

Very comfortable slipon shoes and a pair of street shoes- I wear the street shoes  to the hospital, and change when I get there.  Street shoes are chosen based on season (with the Striderling, it was snowboots, with Baby Batman it was comfortable sandals I think), and pack a pair of ‘croc’ style clogs for wearing in the hospital because they are squishy, easy on the knees, slip on and off easily, and if I need to, I can wear them in the shower and dry them off.  If it’s hot, I wear these in the hospital w/o socks, if it’s cold, i wear them with socks.

What I pack for clothes is based on what is in my ward-drobe, you will need to pack based on yours, obviously.  Because hospitals are always too hot or too cold, I pack short sleeved, lighter things and add a sweater and leggings for when I’m too cold.  Usually. With Striderling, midwinter, I wore the same pair of dark blue corduroy pants every day, and five years later I still can’t look at them without feeling chilled and recalling certain hospital scenes I’d rather forget.

Basically, I pick a two colour combo, then everything I choose has to go with that combination- usually two skirts and two shirts, and a pair of footless leggings or ankle or knee length, based on season.  The shirts and skirts all have to match each other so they are interchangeable.   There’s usually an oversized shirt and the shirt with leggings are my pajamas.   What I wear also matches what’s in my bag.

My wardrobe is that way, too- I have way too many clothes right now, but it’s still groups of two colour combos that I can mix and match- black skirts with shirts in purple, black teal, red, pink.   Brown skirts with shirts in red, pink, brown, cream, or blue.    Some mixed color skirts that work with almost all the shirts.

Underwear, of course, and also if I have them, two or three pads because I feel fresher with those if I’m not going to get to shower or change clothes for a day or two. An extra bra, cotton preferred, or a tank top to wear under shirts.

I have a small travel pillow I like to bring because I dislike strange pillows.

I have a small bathroom bag already packed, and the following items are in that or in my purse at almost all times:

travel bottles of shampoo and conditioner (separate – I hate the two in one kind), a razor, a few band-ades,  spare toothbrush with cover, toothpaste or powder, deodorant, a spray bottle of peroxide with lemongrass, orange, and sometimes oregano essential oil (I may change to cassia, clove, and lemon myrtle): I like these bottles, and bought a case of 12, only half this size, and use them to house sprays for kitchen counters, hand fresheners, and use them on feet and under arms when I feel the need for freshining: 2 oz Amber Boston Round Glass Bottle with Fine Mist sprayer

Also in my bathroom bag: those flossing sticks, and some lotion and my own handsoap or else I get a nasty case of dyshidrotic eczema. I bought this recently, and it is pretty portable: Cetaphil Dry Skin Essentials Kit

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm
makes me feel somewhat human, and it doubles as a bit of blush to the cheeks if you need it (I don’t, I’m red as a tomato anyway).  One of those gloves that is a ‘scrubby’. My own soap.

In my purse:

Kindle and charger (sometimes nurses who are cranky about cell phones have permitted kindles).

Phone and charger and earbuds, which double as noiseblockers

Pens and pencil and a small notebook for doodling, writing down notes, etc.  I write down basic information like my family members names and birthdates as well my own, plus phone numbers because in crises, I forget these things and often need to know them- less necessary as grandma, but vital when I was there as Mom and primary caregiver.

Mints, gum, and Emergen-C and/or teabags

Water bottle of my own


coin purse filled with change from the change jar

safety pins, a few band-ades because I will cut my legs shaving, painkillers, and some spare barrettes or a ponytail holder or two.


I usually wear a headcovering with clips and a barrette so I don’t have to hunt one up.  I finger-comb my hair, so don’t need to bring a brush.  If you have one, a mask for your eyes at night is pleasant.  It’s even more important to find one to buy and give to a new mama in the hospital with her baby.


Now, except for the clothes, most of these things are already packed one way or the other all the time.   I may or may not bring my laptop as well as a spare paperback and a Bible (have a bible or two on my phone and kindle, but sometimes I want one in my hand).

You may also want
a deck of cards
craft project (crochet, cross-stitch, knitting)
crossword puzzle book

With the advent of smart phones, much of the extras for whiling away long hours are taken care of by smart phones, these days. But you may not be able to use your phone, or maybe you don’t have the data, or maybe you just prefer real things in your hands.

I’m probably missing something, or packing more or less than you. But that’s the gist of it.

This post does contain some affiliate links

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