Travel with a friend, so you may help each other when creatures attack, especially if you move as slow as a snail.
Your items are warded for 5 real-life minutes. No thief may steal your things during these five minutes. Hurry back, or better, have your friend guard the items, and be sure to thank him for his great kindness.
The same damage that killed you, can destroy your valued possessions. Your items will be severely damaged. Don't grab your things and go directly into combat. You may feel fine, but your items are beat up. If you're unsure, cast 'Appraise'. Go to a smith to repair them.