Dressing the part

March 8, 2011

I’m going to make an embarrassing confession here.  The other day I found myself sitting planning what I was going to wear for my first quarterly hospital check up – which isn’t until 18 March. I realise this makes me sound like a seriously superficial, empty-headed sort of girl. I should probably qualify this confession by adding that this is not the only thought I have had about the looming appointment. Indeed said appointment occupies rather a lot of my grey matter rather a lot of the time. In fact it is such a big deal that I find it difficult to commit to making any plans for anything until it’s over (and then I suppose I have 3 months to cram everything in until the next check-up). No, what is worrying is that I care at all what I wear to hang out at the hospital, let alone start planning for it weeks in advance.

Yet when I caught myself doing this, and immediately felt embarrassed, I realised that I have carefully planned what I would wear for every single hospital appointment since this whole nonsense started – and that’s a lot of appointments. Even I can see this is a bit weird and since, until now, I have never confessed to anyone, I have no idea whether others do the same.

So what the heck is it all about?!?  

I’ve been giving it some thought and the answer seems to be that I don’t want to look like a sick person! My warped brain seems to think that, if I dress nicely, put on my makeup and generally look like a not-sick person with a life to live, then the hospital personnel will feel even more motivated to do what they can to save said life. Now, I truly hope that medical professionals don’t differentiate between people who look sick and those who don’t, but in my professional life I know that subconsciously it makes a big difference how you react to people depending on how they look. So, as I do in my professional life, I’ve been planning how I look when I visit the hospital in order to project a particular image.

I have to say this was something of a challenge in the chemo days. My chemo- brain was functioning under par at the best of times so it was a major challenge planning outfits that matched the following criteria:

  • Looked feminine – this is important when you have a bald head.
  • Easy access for catheter /veins in arms.
  • Comfortable.
  • Easy to go to the loo with a drip-stand in tow (I needed to pee all the time while I was getting my chemo because it is diluted with so much fluid).
  • Oh, and of course I didn’t want to be wearing the same thing all the time, but I was there fairly frequently!

With radiotherapy, it was a different set of challenges – mainly it had to be easy to put on/off since I had to strip to the waist each time. It also kind of ruled out dresses because for some reason it is more embarrassing to lie naked to the waist with tights on that with trousers on!

I have no idea if my strategy worked on the hospital personnel or whether, in their eyes, I looked just as sick as the next patient. I have to say it worked for me! Without exception I have always thought that every other patient I have been next to in waiting or treatment rooms or hospital wards must be much more ill than me!

Anyway, I still haven’t figured out what the perfect outfit is for the first post-cancer check-up (and I’m wondering if my hair is long enough yet to have it styled before then……), but I still have a few days to go!

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2 Responses to “Dressing the part”


  1. […] 20, 2011 OK, well I did think I was getting on with my life and that one of my biggest worries was what to wear for my check-up, but I think I may have been […]


  2. […] did I give much thought to what I was going to wear this time around. I feel so fantastically well, healthy and full of energy these days that it no […]

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