Dressing for the ER: an update

I didn’t have a lot of time to decide what to wear to the ER last week, but you know without even asking what I didn’t wear. I left those socks at home and put on my whitest least-sporty pair. In fact, I skipped the yoga wear altogether, even though I would have been a lot more comfortable had I worn it. Instead, I put on my fashionable cuffed cotton pants, a white t-shirt, and a striking floral blouse with a white background.

Let’s say the choice of white was not the smartest, except for the socks, of course. A visit to the ER invariably involves blood work of some kind, and often an IV. In fact, I was poked in both arms over the course of the day, and each time I panicked that my beautiful blouse would get stained.

Later in the day, with the IV in my right arm, a nice fellow came to take blood from my left. You guys know how this works: the needle goes in, the blood is drawn, the needle is withdrawn, the patient then holds a cotton ball over the little hole to aid clotting. Well, my right arm was otherwise engaged; the IV in it prevented my bending it to reach my left elbow. The nice technician, despite noticing that I was still bleeding, taped me up and went on his merry way. Stupid Annie did not say: “Whoa, Mr. Technician, get back here!”

Woman doing yoga on ground with arms extended, bent forward, right food behind neck.

I obviously need to work on this pose.

I didn’t really expect my paucity of platelets to be up to this clotting task without the help of pressure from my right hand, and I was right. Within a few minutes, blood was seeping through the gauze, threatening an all-out attack on my blouse. As an experienced yogi, you’d think I could have manoeuvred my right foot up to my left elbow to provide the needed pressure, but no. Luckily, J., who had been off briefly addressing a work matter (her needs taking precedence yet again), returned to find me bleeding profusely and called the nurse over for help. After a quick rebandageing, J.’s capable hand provided the needed pressure to my elbow, and disaster was averted.

Despite this bloody crisis, I still don’t regret what I wore that day. A lot of thought went into that outfit. I wanted to look my best for the doctors. I figured if I presented myself like someone who leaves her house, maybe I’d get to go back home at the end of the day. Magical thinking, I know, but it worked. No hospital admission for me.

I’ve already selected my outfit for my next ER visit, but I’ll skip the white blouse. (I learned something from that bleeding incident.) I will match head to toe, I will be wearing my finest, I will again distract the doctors with my fashion sense, and I trust they’ll believe everything I tell them and let me go home. Now if J. would only stop telling the docs she’s there to stop me from minimizing my symptoms….




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