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Sunday, September 30, 2012

What the Well Dressed Woman Wears to Surgery

What Does the Well Dressed Woman Wear to Surgery?
The instructions from the hospital are vague.  “Wear something loose and comfortable.”  Does this mean my pyjamas?  I wish it did. 
“Wear a bra without under-wires, one tight enough to provide support and to reduce post-surgical bruising and swelling; yet one which is loose and comfortable.”  Pardon?  Aren’t those instructions mutually exclusive? 
“Wear no nail polish, no deodorant, and no make-up.”  No problem.  This will make getting ready and travelling to the hospital by 7:30 am, really easy. 
Because I have to sit around in a “hospital gown” for 2 hours between the first part of my surgery and the second stage, shouldn’t they also tell me to wear warm socks and to bring a sweater?  The hospital staff rushes around working; therefore they stay warm.  But I’m not warm; sitting on a hospital gurney, waiting and waiting isn’t cosy.  It is chilly.  It is very chilly. 
And how is a “hospital gown” in any way a gown?  They’re made from thin fabric, in a housecoat style.  They tie in the front or the back, or they snap open at the shoulders providing inadequate coverage at best.  This gown leaves arms, chest and legs hanging out in the cool air.  Shouldn’t the term “gown” be used for real gowns; fancy gowns worn by stars at award shows? But then, those gowns on award shows leave lots of flesh hanging out too.  So maybe using that definition, it truly is a gown, this hospital gown.  Hmm?  I wonder.  Maybe, except it is missing the fancy part.
Despite the lack of guidance about what the well dressed woman wears to surgery, I have come up with a plan.   To travel to the hospital, I will shower, be make-up-less and polish-less, yet I will be well dressed. 

I have chosen a comfy plaid flannel shirt in a blue that matches my eyes.  Plaid flannel shirts are in back in style.   Amazing!  Who knew?  When I grew up, these were Albert County chic, but that was decades ago.   What goes around comes around…and around.   
I am wearing black pants, of cotton and some unknown stretchy fabric, with an elastic waist.  They are mystery pants.  They could be leggings or yoga pants, or exercise pants or pyjama pants. Yes, they are similar to pyjama pants.  This is great.  And the bra, well it reminds me of the unattractive, thick cotton undershirts I wore as child.  Serviceable, yet ugly.  Enough said?  I am taking a sweater and warm socks for comfort.  To complete the look, I’ll wear my Birkenstocks.   A fetching ensemble; yes, I think so.
I won’t receive rave reviews on any fashion runway, but I will be comfortable.  And when facing surgery, comfort is what it’s all about. 
Now, what was it the hospital said in their vague instructions?
Oh yes, “loose and comfortable.”
I believe I’ve done it…loose and comfortable, and well dressed, too.

Words and photo are © copyright Carol Steel.


Anonymous said...

Being sartorially resplendent is one of those issues that should be more thoughtfully considered before venturing into the hospital. To me, it is one way of remaining human rather than a diagnosis. Thank you for the warmth and grace in sharing this experience. You are in our thoughts and prayers and I trust that all went well.
Peace and compassion,

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Brava, Carol, for voicing this complaint. Hospitals are notorious for insisting on wearing their skimpy gowns and making you sit for hours. You're lucky if you get an extra sheet to bundle up in.

The flannel in the pick is a gorgeous shade of blue. I'd wear it to church, but then, I'm that odd pastor's wife who believes, along with her husband, that you can't worship better in a three-piece suit or a Sloan Rangers formal hat than in jeans.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm back and just reading before posting anything... probably tomorrow. Peace, Amy

Carol Steel said...

Hello Steve,

Thank you for your comment. I am doing my best to remain human in this process and to retain a sense of humor where possible. Thanks for your good wishes. The surgery went as well as it could. Now I wait for results and news of what's next on my journey.


Carol Steel said...

Hello Amy,

Thanks for your feedback. My experience was good in reality. From the porters to the surgeons at the hospital, everyone was sensitive and professional with me. There were many warmed blankets and acts of kindness throughout the process.

I'll likely wear the shirt to church as well. St. Paul's in Riverview is a welcoming and grace-filled place to be.

Thank you for your message.