This is a several part series I am writing on things I took with me to Russia, here are links to the other lists:
So I was asked by several people to make lists of things I took with me to Russia and then discuss what I felt I didn’t need, what I should have brought and the reasoning with what all I packed in the first place. So I’ll be doing this in several posts, so they don’t get too ridiculously long. To start this off I will first state that I am female, in my early 30s, am not into girly stuff and makeup, so my list could probably be a bit comparable to what guys would take, minus the feminine hygiene products. I also was in Russia during their spring from April 25 to May 25, daytime temps ranged from 41-78 degrees Fahrenheit, averaging in the mid-50s to mid-60s. It rained about 1/3 of the time I was there and parts of the city can be quite windy at times, so keep that in mind if you plan to explore the city. So below is my list and the number in parentheses is the amount of each item I brought with me.
This post will discuss toiletries and misc. supplies related to things you would use on a daily basis while in Russia.
- Chapstick/Lip Balm (2)
- Mini Kleenex/Facial Tissues Packs (6)
- Lotion (2)
- Body Wash (1)
- Moist Bathroom Wipes (1 package)
- Toothbrush (2)
- Toothpaste-Mini Travel Tubes (2)
- Dental Floss (1)
- Contact Case (2)
- Contact Solution (1)
- New Contacts (3 pairs)
- Glasses (2 pairs)
- Eyeglass Repair Kit (1)
- Thermometer (1)
- Hand Sanitizer-Travel Size (4)
- Disinfecting Wipes (2 containers)
- Deodorant (1)
- Nail Clippers (1)
- Nail File (1)
- Razor (2)
- Feminine Pads (1 small package)
- Depends/Adult Diapers (small package)
Toiletries I Didn’t Take, But Many People Do
- Hair Brush
- Bar Soap
- Makeup/Perfumes/Girly Stuff
- Earplugs (For Noise Reduction at Night)
- Eye Mask (For Sleeping During Summer Months)
Misc. Supplies Used on a Daily Basis
- Washcloths/Bathroom Rags (2)
- Laundry Bags-Mesh (2)
- Plastic Ziploc Bags-All Sizes (10 of each size)
- Plastic Soup Container (1)
- Water Bottle/Cup (1)
- Bar Laundry Soap (1)
- Pens (4)
- Notepads (4)
- Power Adapter with USB port (1)
- Extension Cord (1)
- Fancier Face Mask for Return Trip Home (1)
- Bandaids (1 box)
- Antibiotic Cream (1 tube)
Misc. Supplies I Didn’t Take, But Many People Do
- Tape-Masking or Duct
- Ice Tray
- Shower Sheets
- Table Knife
- Sharper Kitchen Knife
- Paper Towels/Napkins
- Toilet Paper
Okay so first I’ll discuss what I packed that I really didn’t need. Now some of the stuff I packed I really wasn’t sure I’d need in the first place, but so many people on the Russia group insisted you must bring it, so I did, and didn’t need it. Should have listened to my gut on some of that. I brought the adult diapers/depends like people insisted because so many people said the hospital diapers were bulky and uncomfortable and it was listed that you needed one for stem cell collection, one for the day when you get your stem cells back, then finally one for the final rituximab infusion. Now they do want you to wear one when your stem cells are collected because you are stuck in bed for 5-6 hours and can’t leave the bed, and then on the day you get them back, they want you to wear one in case you have an accident. I wore one both days and never needed to use it, and then there was zero need for one on the rituximab infusion day because you can move around with your pole and drip so no problem going to the actual bathroom. I say I didn’t really need them because while the hospital provided ones appeared to be a bit bulkier than what you’d bring yourself, you really only need to wear them for 2 days for not a long period of time, so I don’t think it’s a huge issue to wear one that they provide, but that is up to the individual. And if you do have bladder issues and need to wear one more often, if you are planning to go out exploring town you may want to bring more of your own just for comfort reasons, but the hospital provides as many as you may need during your stay there. I also brought 2 bottles of lotion because everyone insisted you would go through large quantities, I did not need that much lotion and barely even used 1/2 a bottle, but many people use a lot more, so hard to say the amount people should bring there. I also brought along a pack of the moist bathroom wipes because so many people insisted you would need them during chemo because it would give you severe diarrhea and all the wiping would make your butt raw. Nobody in my group had any issues with the chemo so I never touched the package of the wipes, but it may be beneficial to bring along a pack just in case. I didn’t use the eyeglass repair kit either, but if you wear glasses it probably is good to bring one along, I got a cheap one at Dollar Tree, cost $1.00 and contained everything you’d need to fix your glasses.
Many people recommended bringing an extension cord saying the rooms did not have enough outlets and you may need to have one in order to use your electronics in certain places in your room. I have not seen the new rooms on the third floor, they started using them literally the day after I left, but as for all the other rooms I stayed in, which was 3 separate rooms on 2 different floors, there were ample outlets by the bed and I never had any use for the extension cord. I also took a box of bandaids and tube of antibiotic cream as many people recommended having that in your carry-on bag on your return trip home in case you’d cut yourself, but I never needed that. But seems like a good idea to have that packed in your carry-on bag just in case. I also did bring along a plastic soup container as so many people recommended. Many people like to put extra soup or food in there for future meals, I normally always ate all my food I got so I never used the stupid thing, and when I did opt to save meals I just put the bowl or plate in the fridge as I had more than enough dishes in the room to do that, so not an issue. And also while I never packed an ice cube tray, some people do, but there would have been no need as there was ice cube trays in every freezer in every room I was in, and it seems as though everyone had one, and nobody in my group seemed to actually use it. So I think if you really want to make ice, you probably could manage to find someone who is there that has one in their room that isn’t using it.
As for what I should have brought but didn’t. A table knife. That was an item that some people recommended, others said there were plenty of knives. None of my rooms ever had a table knife and many others did not either, although some did. My last room did have a sharper knife, but the others didn’t. So I think that may just depend on what people have left. Had I known so many rooms did not have table knives I would have brought a bunch from home and just left them there. Although from what I’ve read from people who were there after me using the new third floor rooms, they all seemed to have table knives, so who knows. But if you plan to use a knife, bringing at least a table knife to spread peanut butter or jam on your bread may be a good idea. Many people also like a sharp knife to cut up the boiled apples you get every day. There really wasn’t anything else I felt I really needed while I was there. I also obviously should have brought more pads as I started my period again right before I was leaving Russia, but luckily a fellow patient of mine had plenty and gave me some for my trip home, although the grocery stores also sell them so not a huge deal. They do prefer that you wear pads while on your period if you happen to get it during the isolation phase, so keep that in mind. I’m sure they could hook you up with those as well, but I’ve seen hospital pads in the USA, so I think bringing your own is a good idea.
Now for the reasoning on what I packed. You may look at some of my list and wonder why on earth I’d bring 2 of certain things like toothbrushes and contact lens cases. Well for me I’d rather be safe and so after I got out of isolation I wanted to have a brand new toothbrush to use as well as a new contact lens case to use. I opted to wear my glasses during isolation, although you are allowed to wear contacts the whole time. For me I just felt safer opting to go the glasses route, personal preference. I could have packed a large tube of toothpaste instead of smaller ones, but I had recently went to the dentist prior to the trip to Russia and happened to have the smaller tubes, so just took them. I also took 2 mesh laundry bags just so that if I had the hospital do my laundry, they could take one bag and I’d still have one in my room for dirty clothes. Most everything else I packed just because I knew it was stuff I’d need.
Now it may seem weird that I did not pack a brush, comb or shampoo, but I had cut my hair really short prior to leaving for Russia so I really did not have a need for any of that. Body wash worked just fine for washing the hair I had left. I also did not bring a roll of tape with me. Many people suggest bringing a roll of masking tape or duct tape with, and the reasoning for that is that many people do opt to hang things on the wall in their room, whether it is notes from home or pictures of family. For me it was just as easy to look at pictures on my computer, so I really didn’t feel the need to hang things on my wall. But then again at home, I’m not one for having a bunch of stuff hanging on my walls, but most people seem to have a whole collage of things hanging on the wall by their bed in their room. I also did not bring a blanket with me. I know a lot of people do like to bring a small blanket with them to cuddle under when they get cold or just so they have something from home. I didn’t really see the need for that, but many people do. I also did not bring along shower sheets, which if you don’t know what those are, they are basically plastic things that you sorta tape over your neck line when you bathe so you won’t get it wet. I had heard mixed reviews from past patients on whether or not you needed them and how practical they were and I decided against bringing them. The showers in the hospital have a removable head so it makes showering quite easy with the neckline in, again personal preference, but many rooms did have a lot of those lying around from past patients who never used them. Also many people insisted you had to bring a roll of paper towels or napkins from home. The hospital provides you with packages of napkins, so I didn’t see a need why anyone would need them. Now the toilet paper at the hospital is a bit rough, so some people do like to bring their own from home or buy some softer stuff at the local grocery store, but toilet paper is plentiful there so not really a need to bring it from home.
And just to mention on the containers of disinfecting wipes, I mainly got those to use on my return trip home to wipe things down in the airport and on the airplane. I did wipe my laptop and some other things off in my room once or twice a day while in isolation and afterwards with a disinfecting wipe, but did not go crazy with that as they clean the room thoroughly every day while in isolation. Some people however do really go crazy with disinfecting wipes and wipe down everything they touch all the time while in isolation, so if that is how you are, you may want to bring more…
Most toiletries however you can buy at the little grocery store about a block away from the hospital if you happen to forget something at home. Basically just think about what you use on a regular basis and whether or not you want to bring it with you to Russia and make your list accordingly.