Gishwhes and good comfort bags

Geez. It’s been what *looks at post date*, like 3 years since I used this blog? Erg. Well, no time like the present to get back into it, and not just because recruiters might be looking at this (hi there! Good on you for slogging through my babble!)

Anyway, last week I participated in Gishwhes which turned out to be a great creative and spiritual kickstart. Made banana bread for a local retirement home, helped my wife make a wedding dress out of recycled office paper (luckily her office is a print shop), recreated Whistler’s Mother in the style of David LaChapelle’s photos, and put together a Comfort Bag for a cancer patient.

A comfort bag is basically a tote filled with things to alleviate discomforts and boredom for the patient. It brings some joy and lets the person know they are in someones thoughts. For an example, here’s some of the stuff I put in mine:

Decorate-yourself bag with markers included
Pencil pouch to organize the little things
Coloring book (Golden Girls themed, because why not?)
Coloring pencils
Pencil sharpener
Personal hand-held fan
Magazine of puzzles, word searches, crosswords, sudoku, etc.
Playing cards
Fidget cube, for blood drawing or chemo sessions where there’s anxiety
Skin lotion – non-scented and non-greasy. I found out that dry and irritated skin is a common side effect of chemo
Lip balm – non-mentholated. Medicated/mentholated can dry out the skin more. I opted for Vaseline’s non-scented brand
Ginger tea. Comforting for a queasy stomach, but some patients can’t have it for medical reasons.

Some other things that were recommended were headscarves made for cancer patients, i.e. low skin irritation. “Mouth aids” were also common. Chemo patients often get “metal mouth” or a metallic taste after treatment, so citrus candies and fruits help. Dry mouth and mouth sores are also common so OTC remedies are suggested, although that might be contraindicated by their doctor, so you might have to do some research first.

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