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Fashion tips for hospital trips.

  • By Catherine Clavering
  • 1 comment

Fashion tips for hospital trips.

"What to wear" lists are one of my pet hates, but after over a decade of specialist and day procedures, the one time I think you might need some tips for dressing is when hospitals are involved!

Last week I went in to get a topical anesthetic dripped into my bloodstream to reduce chronic pain. Yes, it's very strange, no, they don't know why it works, and I strongly suspect a doctor with a severe hangover came up with the notion.

Here's what I wore and why.

1) An enormous bag.

I once spent 12 hours in a hospital for a procedure that takes 90 minutes including checks. Between checklists and emergencies, hospital-time is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait (but also much safer than pre-checklists), where the time you get seen is maybe the GDP of Switzerland divided by how long it takes to make apricot jam, not the time on your letter.

Your bag should be big enough to hold any projects you can do in a room full of anxious people, at least one book (kindles aren't allowed in procedure rooms?), your phone, the spare battery, earplugs, any medication you might need for a day or so, your original appointment letter, a packed lunch and snacks if you're allowed them, and in my case an emergency medical card. Yes, if you're lucky enough to be a frequent flyer with specialist conditions, you still have to cart your info with you even inside a hospital. I'm hoping eventually I can collect a stamp every time this happens and get a free mug on my tenth go, or something.


2) A huge fluffy coat!

It was really cold here and sometimes they let you outside again for a bit, plus also it doubles up as a thing you fold up and place as a cushion/wrap because waiting rooms for some reason always involve the least comfortable chairs in the world.  Probably because it's easier to sanitise!

3) Multiple easy to get on and off top layers. 

After your 6th blood pressure check, you will be annoyed if you wore a tight top. Also if you're like me, you can't maintain a sensible temperature even in a place with aircon (and that is by no means guaranteed if you're in an old hospital in the UK). 

4) Sensible cotton no wire underwear.

Look, there's a 0.1% your heart goes badly wrong in this process and the last thing you want is the defrib machine to burn your nylon-ed bra wires to your ribcage. You might well have lower risks, but sometimes you just have to be captain-sensible-pants.

5) If you possess a uterus that has ANY chance of a hormonal cycle, remember to bring a full bladder.

You could be a nun and they will still pregnancy test you. And if you're nil by mouth after 7am and they want a sample at 1pm . . . ouch!


6) Leggings.

Remember the clean but un-soft chairs? You're going to squirm around! Best not to risk anything less flexible. Yes, I will be testing Wolf & Whistles activewear for doing achy person stretches on hospital chairs next time.

7) Big fluffy boots.

I once absent-mindedly turned up in my standard winter boots; knee-high leather things with a stiletto heel. The nurses were NOT impressed, as you have to keep them on with your hospital gown and the result was probably someone's extremely niche fetish.

I hope that you never have to go into hospital, but on the offchance that you do, please remember my top tip; if nothing else take a book and a packed lunch!


P.S - another tip from a fan who, unlike me, wears jewellery and piercings on a daily basis.  Remember to take something to put these into safely as you cannot take metal into procedure rooms or operating theatres.

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