I Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead Wearing That

Emergency room sign
Photo by author

This saying has more meaning when you reach your Sixties

You only have one chance to make your last impression. Take it from someone who has been to the emergency room (ER) three times in the past 15 months. When an accident happens – or a medical emergency occurs – you don’t have time to change clothes or fix yourself up. 

Have you been to an ER lately? The dress code rivals that of the “People of Walmart” website. My attire during my recent trips to the ER was not much better. After I broke my ankle at 1:30am, hospital personnel referred to me as “the lady in the NPR t-shirt.” Luckily, my gray pajama pants looked like light-weight sweatpants. Poorly dressed – YES; hideous – NO.

My other two accidents involved kitchen knives. I have no recollection of what I was wearing on New Year’s Day 2022 when I sliced through my left middle fingernail to the bone while chopping an onion with a brand new knife. For my most recent mishap, I was wearing a semi-matching ensemble of old gray sweatpants and a decent black and gray shirt, covered by a black and white leopard-print, knee-length sweater. Yes, I definitely made an impression in the ER waiting room with that sweater. It was a bizarre, split-second knife incident, wherein after grabbing a couple of steak knives from a wooden knife block, a third (fillet) knife slipped out and flipped over as I lowered the other knives to the plate below, impaling my right lower forearm/wrist area. After manually pulling the knife from my flesh, I grabbed the nearest kitchen towel to apply pressure to the wound, as my daughter doubled-bagged my lower arm and popped a Xanax into my mouth. I was barely able to wiggle out of my slipper socks and slide into a pair of ballet flats as my husband got the car started for the ten-minute ride to the hospital.

You get the idea. Not only am I not safe with knives, I definitely need to up my game when it comes to what I wear around the house. 

Home injuries are common and deadly, especially for older populations. We also dominate in the category of medical emergencies like heart attacks and strokes. According to healthyagingpoll.org, “about one in four adults age 50-80 (26%) reported having an ED (Emergency Department) visit in the past two years.” Obviously, I am way ahead on this curve. Still, it is a situation we should all be prepared for. 

Unless our terminal moment occurs while bathing or changing, we will all have a final outfit. Last century, our mothers would admonish us to always wear clean underwear in case we were in an accident. It was not bad advice. Arguably, attractive underwear can make up for otherwise shoddy outer garments when we draw our last breath. 

My daughter worked as an EMT on ambulances in Las Vegas for a time, and she confirmed that many individuals she “worked on” or transported to the hospital were caught dead or dying in some atrocious outfits. Bad taste aside, individuals dressed in filthy clothing disturbed her the most, especially those wearing dirty, smelly underwear.

So ladies and gents, treat yourselves by investing in quality loungewear, bed clothes, and under garments. You can be comfortable and nicely attired at the same time. After all, each of us will be caught dead in something.

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