WIPES. I liked some natural lavender wipes. They are good to wipe your hands before you eat or to wipe off your tray if you want to put your laptop on it and they leave a fresh scent behind. You can also touch them to your temples when the doctor has just left things feel dire and the smell of lavender clears your head a bit.
All this stuff may seem absurdly expensive given your circumstances, but I suggest you invest in it anyway. It makes you feel chic and aristocratic and helps you continue to behave in a "noblesse oblige" fashion.
As my friend Sancha reminded me, they come in packs. The worst time (for me) was the morning rounds because they would be fresh and dressed and joking and chatting amongst themselves as they came in. Then you feel like a feeble, unwashed, beat-up vagrant who hasn't slept all night (because they wake you up every two or three hours to check your vitals) and the doctors all talk about you in the third-person. So here's what worked for me. I woke up (like I was ever REALLY asleep) an hour or two before rounds.
I’d get the nurse to unhook my IV and I’d attempt a shower or sponge bath in the bathroom. Then I’d brush my hair and teeth, put on mascara and blush and attempt to look as civilized as possible. When I got back to bed, I’d get out my laptop and run through all the questions I had.
The doctors would come in. usually it's the big honcho, the head of the department, surrounded by fawning student-interns and a couple of nurses. The main doctor prods and pokes you in embarrassing ways and then the young doctors-in-training all ask if they can, too, just to further humiliate you. In order to maintain a sense of dignity, I suggest you take the time to learn as many of their names as you can. Then have a bright conversation with them about your condition. Take back the situation.
Remember, this is about you as a human being, not you as a science project. This is the moment to ask your doctor every single question you have about your treatment. She/he will do her absolute best to answer you because she is also training all these young doctors and she wants to show good her bedside manner to them. If there is something you don't like or is not working, this is the time to ask.
I’d say make sure to do your research first and keep your questions on point so the doctors have to answer specifically rather than in vague generalizations. If you start to learn some medical jargon, i.e. "I feel pressure in the lower left quadrant of my abdomen," so much the better.
If you find something that makes you question a specific part of your treatment, print it out (but not HUGE texts with pages and pages) and give it to your doctor. Most doctors work hard and lead somewhat harried lives. They can't always keep up with the latest information.
I’ve spoken to doctors who say the internet has done a big disservice to patients because they all think they are experts. I suppose you could diagnose yourself with all kinds of stuff and freak yourself out no end if you were that kind of worried person.
When I was in high school, one of my best friends (who used to keep a personal stash of antibiotics in his cupboard) has a father who was a doctor. He used to joke, "The first thing a doctor always says: Never self-medicate."
There is certainly a truth in that one shouldn't be taking antibiotics and OTC crap wildly.
However, what doctors sometimes forget is that you ARE an expert in one thing: Your own body. You are the only one who knows how you feel. Your intuition—if you take the time to listen to it—will probably tell you what's really wrong.
Whatever happens in the hospital, remember that this particular movie is all about you. Treat yourself like the hero that you are.