1) SNACKS! I sat in the ER of my local hospital for a few hours before getting the news that there was something in my head that shouldn't be there. It was around 4 in the afternoon and I hadn't eaten since breakfast. As soon as they told me the results of the CT scan, suddenly I had all the crackers and juice I could want. This experience taught me a valuable lesson: in a hospital setting, you don't know when you'll encounter food again, so horde the snacks you can. Just shove them all into your purse. Who cares? You have a brain tumor.
2) JEWELRY! Not only does the hospital give you free bracelets, they even personalize them with your name, birth date, and patient ID number! Where else can you get free engraving like that?
3) CLOTHES! Even though I brought my own socks, the hospital gifted me these. While they are a bit limiting in that they only come in blue, they are warm and comfy. The downside is that they have white traction stuff on the bottom to keep you from falling down, so if the ability to moon-walk across the kitchen floor or do that Tom-Cruise-Risky-Business-sliding-in-your-underwear thing is important to you, you might inquire about exchanging these for the mesh underwear that the maternity unit gives away.
4) A NOTE THAT GETS YOU LITTLE BROWN BOTTLES WITH WHITE CAPS! These speak for themselves. Initially, they are filled with fun and/or awful medication (many of the ones shown here will keep you from throwing up...this qualifies as 'fun' at this point). Once they're empty, you have lots of little brown bottles for holding stuff! And little white caps! For capping stuff!
5) THIS THING THAT LOOKS LIKE GIANT BIRTH CONTROL! While this appears to be a giant condom, the hospital does not actually endorse this as a reliable method of birth control. Rather, this is for throwing up into should the stuff in the brown bottles and white caps not do their job. I keep this in my purse. It's a great conversation starter.
Complain about rising health care costs all you want, if it's paying for freebies like these, I'm on board.