by June T. Bassemir
They said to be there at six a.m. My goodness did they know that I lived an hour away? That meant getting up at four fifteen in order to leave by five and get there by six. So be it.
The check-in began. After receiving the two hospital gowns, a nurse arrived to ask questions. She was poised on a stool in front of a full screen computer on wheels.
Do you smoke? ...No, never.
Do you drink?...No, never.
Are any of your teeth loose? Do you wear dentures? Do you have a pace maker? Do you have any metal parts within? Are you wearing any jewelry? When did you eat last? When was your last bowel movement? Did you take any Tylenol, Aspirin, Motrin, etc. etc.?
On and on went the questions as her fingers flew over the keyboard. Are you diabetic? What operations have you had? How many times were you pregnant? How many children have you had? Are you allergic to anything? Then…..Did you remove your underpants?
“What?...Huh?...No.” Why do I have to remove my underpants? They are working on my eyes, not my pelvic region”
Well, they need a sterile environment in the operating room.
“How does removing my clean underpants make for a sterile environment in the operating room?”
“Are the nurses and doctors removing their underpants?”
Her hands dropped into her lap as we waited in silence. We had reached an impasse. My son sat quietly in the corner listening and I could feel his thoughts. “Don’t make waves, Mom”. No one spoke.
I wondered if I should be another Rosa Parks and hold my ground. Finally she said… Well you can keep them on for the moment…and out of the room she rolled with her computer. The moment stretched into four hours, as the doctor was late. I hoped she would forget about the underpants. But then I had a nagging thought. Had I come this far after waiting so many months, only to wake up from the anesthesia with the news that the operation was cancelled due to the fact that “She wouldn’t take off her underpants.”?
The final hour had come, along with the anesthesiologist who kindly told me to get up on the table. I did as I was told, but first, not wanting to chance it, I reluctantly succumbed to the “Underpants Regulation”.
However, when the survey letter arrives, I’m thinking of making a suggestion that they provide disposable panties for senior ladies like me who just want to retain a little bit of dignity, as they prepare for their eye operation.
copyright 2012, June T. Bassemir