Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Studly Therapist & The Naked Patient (That Would Be Moi!)

Humiliation and embarrassment are just part of the process when you are a regular at the hospital. At least for me. I hope a few of you can relate. My red face is usually a tad cherry here and there for that moment when there's a wardrobe malfunction or the basic memorization of a few facts ("Say the following five words back to me...") seem as a difficult as high school geometry with proofs. Ugh, proofs! Why did I bring THAT up? Anyway, my recall is nil right now. I mean it's bad. I can barely remember my last name. I tend to blame the medicine. At least one in particular. It's even referred to in some circles as "stupid pills." I was goofy enough before, just ask my friends. Now add a lil' stupid? Great. Things are looking even MORE promising for meeting Mr. Right -- yeah not even! It's a good thing I still have my sense of humor intact. I'm sure Carrie Bradshaw just wishes she had my flare for words, basket of pills, fashion sense, aluminum walker, and shower stool! Oh, yes, my friend, maybe in 30 years! Ha! Yeah, life is good. My cocktail is not a pink-tinged Cosmo. It's plain 'n'simple

The big, marquee event of red-faced humiliation happened after my right thigh surgery at MD Anderson in Houston. Post-surgery, the hospital provides patients like yours truly both occupational & physical therapy -- for a pretty penny! If you have read my other posts, you know that makes me giddy... NOT. Sarcasm, again. Love it. Don't know about you but I'm not real keen on having someone tell me to do something and then watch me do it, reps at a time, hooked to a IV cart. Of course, given my physical prowess (ha!), I'm always given a tip or three on how to improve and/or a printout for homework. Homework? WTH? Homework! I'm done with high school and college. No homework for me. The PT and OT disagree. At this point my red face is RED! I'm mad!

I don't know what it is but I have had my fair share of not-so-fun experiences that might send me to the other kind of therapy -- laying flat on the couch. While living in Lewiston, Idaho, a physical therapist had me work my shoulder area lifting weights because it was weak from a recent surgery.
She was counting with me and working with another person a short distance away. I was doing the best trying to lift the weights slow and steady, watching my
own movements. Meanwhile no one was beside. Mrs. PT was busy talking to the male athletes. Given surgery was only days ago, my arm got weak faster than I anticipated. Without a spotter, the weight came down quick & I nearly lost a eye. She saunters over with a "How ya doing over here with these reps? You done?"
Yeah. Done. Done and nearly without an eye.

Back at MD Anderson, I have a private room although it's quite a misnomer because any patient room at the hospital is not private. Am I right? It is a constant flow of nurses, housekeepers, physical therapists, food delivery, visitors, patient services, occupational services, church people, physicians, specialists, phlebotomists... the list goes on and on... I don't remember all the people that come and go on a floor during an extended hospital stay.

So it's close to lunch but I've just finished my breakfast: yogurt parfait, juice, and fresh fruit. I actually managed to sleep well the night before. I feel good minus the whole being in a hospital thing. There's a knock at the door and in walks a young gentleman, late 20s-early 30s, around 6-foot, nice build, bleached-blond hair, workout clothes and running shoes or what my Dad called "ten-ees" for tennis shoes. This guy could model. I'm not sure why he's here... in MY room. A hospital. He introduces himself as the physical therapist. OH. GREAT. PT. Oh, did I mention he's got diamond studs in both ears? I think the earrings are shining right at me. This should be interesting.

I give my brief medical background and explanation of Neurofibromatosis and during the quick chat the occupational therapist pops in or rather bounces in cheerleader-style with a "Hi!" and "Oh." and "No worries!" and "See ya soon." Complete with a good-bye wave! I think I feel a nap coming on about 3 p.m. Is that when she said she would be returning? Overly perky people make me want an anti-nausea pill or just give me the whole box. I'm all about staying positive as possible but you have to show a range of emotions. That's life. It's part of being human. Plus, no one is THAT happy. Except on scripted sitcoms. When all is said and done, eye candy is best! OK, OK, so I admit he's kinda nice-looking! But I'm not a jewelry-on-guys gal. If he has more carats than me, no deal. Ha! If I were the Bachlorette*, though, he might get a rose. Might.
*Not really a bucket-list item & I'm too old & the producers don't like redheads! :( Shame on them.

"Ready to work?" He asks. "You think you can stand up today?"
This is critical because it is the day after surgery when the several benign tumors were removed from my right thigh.

Did I mention my Mom and Aunt Jamie are here in the room and BOOM! Purses in hand, these two sisters are in front of my hospital bed mouthing "Lunch!" They're anticipating what I have not.

I start to shimmy my butt closer to the center of the bed while Mr. Diamond Earrings lowers the bed down and back.
"Sure. I'm ready," I say. Completely unsure.
I try to swivel myself -- dry skin against scratchy, hospital sheets -- so I can sit up. I pull the hot, sticky blanket off with my clutched right hand.
At this point, I forgot (being totally me, absent-minded) that I am in a backless/assless gown. I stand with gusto. My two size-10 flat feet festooned in hospital socks stamp the floor with purpose.
He grabs me as I wobble to straighten my pose. Here it comes... I can see myself, my face, my gown, my legs, my hospital socks in the mirror beside him... and THEN... I see it!
My one dimple per cheek... MY ASS CHEEKS!!! MY ASS in the mirror with me and Mr. Diamond Earrings.
"Oh, God, why? WHY?"

My aunt and mom were smart to make their excuses and skip Embarassville. Population: 1. I sure wish I didn't live in this lonely place. Holding on to my arms, he doesn't seemed fazed. At all. He steadies me as I balance myself on the slick floor.
"Careful, take your time," he says.
I look up at him and realize what just occurred. I bow my head and wince. All I want to do is hurry. I want to get in this chair next to the hospital bed and SIT DOWN.
Why are hospital gowns ugly and backless? Tell me, someone, TELL ME!!!

I can only take tentative steps because of the post-operative pain. This becomes the weirdest slow dance, me trying to make my way from the hospital bed to the chair, in reality it is only feet away, but it feels like a mountain hillside I must trek. He's keeping me steady, holding on to my sleeved arm (about all he can hold onto!) so I feel secure. It's micro-seconds, up against a soundtrack on the television for blue jeans that are also pajamas. I have to laugh on the inside. I could use a pair of those right about now. Oh, the irony of it all.... If there would have been a way I could put my hand through that television screen and grab a pair -- no matter what a fashion no-no these PJ jeans seem! Nothing is worse than a hospital gown. Nothing.

You wouldn't have wanted to see me at that moment. Face crimson. My scarlet letter A. I manage to aim my bare buns into the uncomfortable chair lined with a hospital sheet. I press my pain pump to speed relief to my legs and my bruised ego. Probably hoping that if I pressed the button he might also disappear. Nope, it did not work. Dang it. I thought pain pumps were magic! :) I just needed a few moments to recover from this revealing moment I so was not expecting.

I've actually come along way in the modesty department, believe it or not. I am so much better about it all (no really!) since I go to the doctor and hospital so often. I just think that day and that moment caught me by surprise when I saw myself in the mirror and I saw my cellulite-iced buns, I was ready to run. Cue that ol' Dixie Chicks song. So Ready TO RUN!!!

I ended up sitting in the chair for quite awhile that day. No bad headache. A great sign after surgery. I even got my hospital sheets changed while resting in the chair. And best of all, no OT visit after all. And a new hospital gown. Lucky me. Ha! I can embarrass myself some more in a new, cleaner version.

I have to hand it to Mr. Diamond Earrings, if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have had the chance to sit up in the chair. Sounds like such a simple thing but in a hospital and after surgery, it feels wonderful. I felt good the rest of the day. So, I am glad he stopped by. I just wished I had a robe on first.

P.S. For his patience and kindness, he would definitely get a rose.

***So readers, I don't want to be alone on this. What are some of your embarrassing moments at the doctor's office or hospital? Provide in the comments or e-mail at and I just might feature your story in a future post. Come on, I know there's some stories out there. Share 'em with me! 

©The Healing Redhead

Images: Microsoft Office clipart &


  1. My pastor was in with me and Ian when I went in for my hysterectomy. The nurse comes in and begins to do stuff that involve exposing private areas. Only then did she bother to ask if "everyone in the room is okay to be here while I do this?" Uh, no!

  2. I love this! LOL Ok, so I was in giving birth to my 5th child....Yes, 5th!
    I was tired and in pain (this gal CHOSE no pain meds--crazy, I know) Anyways, I was ready to get this child out of me, when in pops "HOUSEKEEPING"...a Spanish male, mid 30's.
    I'm doing my heavy breathing, and trying to dilate...When I asked this man if he could check my cervix, because I was SURE I was at 10 cm....I lifted up my lovely hospital gown and got myself in the "ready position".....

    The poor man hides his head and says, "No no ma'am, Me here to clean room...."

    It took me a few seconds to realize that I had just embarrassed HIM and Myself.... :)

  3. Thanks Joni & Kristi for your stories! I feel a little less alone in the Embarrassed Dept. ;)

    Joni: What was the nurse thinking???

    Kristi: When I read "me here to clean room," I was like OHMYGOSH!!! No way. That was a good one! :) LOL