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the wrong signals {first impressions count}

strakerstraker Posts: 1,851
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Matters of the Heart
i did not know how to put this so bear with me ..the point i am trying to get across is ..since i have been ill my appearance has slipped {don't get me wrong i still shower and shave and i am in clean cloths every day!} but its those cloths i am talking about ..i have to wear baggy tee shorts and baggy shorts and crocs as i am unable to fit into any of my normal cloths and even if i could i am in so much pain i would be uncomfortable ,i carnt bear anything on my legs {nerve damage] and i carnt wear shoes as they hurt my feet so you get the picture? //OK that's all right for knocking around the house ..but i have to go to the hospital dressed like that and shopping etc .and the looks i get !!!! i think people think i am a bit eccentric! that's bad enough but when you have to go to the hospital for the first time and see someone i carnt help feeling that if i went in dressed in my nice cloths with a nice hair cut i would be treated a lot better .i feel that people carnt see beyond my shabby clothing and i get treated accordingly and that's bad ! don't you think ..i could buy nice expensive clothing and i have plenty in my wardrobe but i carnt wear any of it .has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?


  • I have not, but I'm afraid this is just a fact of life. I think the attitude is lessening from how extreme it was years ago, but one is still judged on one's appearance. About fifteen years ago I was chummy with the wife of a well-known pro baseball player. She would wear jeans and a t-shirt, hair pulled back with sunglasses and a cap to go shopping and would be ignored, or the clerks would look at her like "can you afford to be in this store?" But if she looked "nice" people would fawn over her. If in a very busy restaurant where people are trying to get a table, the well-dressed person will get attention ahead of others. I could go on and on and on.

    This in no way reflects on you, but on the "smallminded-ness" of others. Do you notice this attitude with your doctors?

    Maybe you could carry your "nice" clothes on a hangar... @)

    Don't let it get to you.


  • Have you tried wearing scrubs at all? I understand that nerve damage can make even the slightest brush of a sheet feel like razor blades. Is your pain so bad as to not allowing you to wear a pair of scrub pants? They are inexpensive and come in all kinds of styles, even those that mimic nice clothes.

    Just another thought in case you haven't already tried it.

  • because the pale blue scrubs that our surgeons wear would suit me!{i have vivid blue eyes}! and they would be comfy ..but i think you are referring to something else?@my doctor is find with me}
  • That is exactly what I am talking about. The scrubs that medical personnel wear are available to anyone and can be ordered in all different colors, styles, lengths and sizes. You can use your internet search engine to search for medical scrubs and will find there's a huge number of places they can be ordered from and at good prices. If you are interested, PM me and I can give you links to some of my favorite scrub sources.

  • i will have a look
  • Either that or some nylon jogging pants. Since it will be getting cooler now you could buy the complete jogging suit (paints and a jacket) and wear a T-shirt underneath.

    Hope you can find your happy medium somewhere!
  • If you do it right the hospital people will give you more respect instead of less.

    It is a common sight here at the local hospital for medical staff to wear scrubs AND crocs! So, just get the scrub tops and pants, put on your fav crocs and GO!

    The only issue I heard about the crocs was from an anesthitist who was angry they would not let her wear her crocs! At that time most crocs had open heals and that was not allowed in the OR. Now that you can get crocs in so many different styles that have heels on them she is back to happily wearing her crocs to work!

    I once wore some scrubs in as a friend had given them to me and I was having same day surgery. The staff was oh so much nicer to me, most just treated me like a colleaque without even asking if I worked there or anywhere else in the medical field!
  • :H

    Yes, I totally understand your post and it's so true. I basically live in gym shorts and white tees -- also because it's so darn hot here in orlando. I went without putting on makeup and just had my hair up in a ponytail when I was in severe pain. Being stylish went out the window. But, you are so right, doctors and medical personnel seem to treat you better if you look "Nice".

    Hey, the scrubs are an excellent idea -- easy, comfortable, and no one will will look at you cross eyed. The Wal Mart I go to is directly across the street from the hospital -- it's a sea of scrubs in there with all the medical personnel coming in to grab groceries on their way home from work. And, of course, they all were crocs. I would love a pair of crocs but I have "Fin" feet (skinny) and I could fit both my feet into one croc (LOL!).

    How's it going with getting a new MRI?

    Take care,

  • the MRI is on the 7th of nov then i have a consultation with the neurosurgeon on the 26 nov .so i will know what needs doing by the end of nov ..i am scared because i have NEVER been so ill in all my life .all i do is sleep and lay on my recliner because if i try to do anything i feel ill with pain ..i have never known so much pain and pain that last so long in my life ..i used to be able to get get about a 3 hour window where i was nearly pain free {about 5 pm until 8/9 pm } then the pain started to creep up again ..but now its permanent ..the only time it takes a dip is when i have sufficient pain killers ans sleeping pills to knock me out for a bit ..since this has gotten worst over the last few months .i have really got scared and worried and i can see just how quickly people go off the boil and die .i am 43 but i don't have the kick in me that i did only a few years ago ..i just want to be out of pain .its taken years off my life span i feel very old and worn out even the simplest of things like showering is now a major effort {and i must shower as it would distress me to be sat in my own filth } i am a very clean person and like my environment and person to be clean ..if this was taken away from me ..i would not like to even go there!
    i am just happy that i have my wife and home to ease the pain and suffering ..i know that this may sound a bit over the top and dramatic but i feel that there is something serious wrong with me ..only the MRI will find out !!!!!!!
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I like you cannot stand to wear clothes due to being uncomfortable. Crocs now have a new shoe that is a bit dressier and have all the comfort of regular crocs. They look like a regular shoe that comes in suede, leather and cloth. You would never guess they are crocs. My doctor wears them. They are more expensive but maybe an answer to your problems. I also wear jogging suits.(everyday). I try to buy some nice jogging suits with matching jacket and think I look just as good as everyone else. Adidas and Nike make some nice looking suits. Have you tried the tennis shoes with the spring in the heel? Those are also a life saver for my neck and back. They absorb alot of impact when walking.
  • I too got the looks when I wore "comfy" clothing. Yep scrubs changed the way the public seen/treated me.

    I agree it stinks we should even have to think about this. When I see someone such as you said you look I always assume they are in pain and/or don't feel well - but that is because I have been there - done that lol ;)

    Scrubs can be costly but look around at second hand clothing stores if cost is an issue for you.

    Now days I have fun with my scrubs. I buy holiday ones like for Christmas - Halloween etc etc.

    Hope the scrubs also helps you :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • shorts because i carnt stand anything on my legs
  • Hope you are doing okay. You know, it's funny, at my pm appointment this week, an older lady came in, and she was in her fuzzy pj pants!! I was in my combats, as my appointment was in the afternoon and I had been at work. Anyways, she came over and sat beside me and started chatting, and she said something about how she was in her pjs. I said don't even worry about it, some days, it's hard to put anything else on, and I was lucky as my combats are just like wearing pjs, I just wish I could wear slippers and not the boots, as they cause me great pain. I think my point is that people who don't experience pain, just don't know, as we've said many times before, but it extends to wearing certain clothing as well. Don't pay any attention to the ignorance of those people, and continue to be as comfy as you can be. The scrubs sound like a great idea, or even the nylon wind pants, or warm up pants. Anyways, goos luck, and have fun shopping!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • I too don't like wearing regular, stylish clothes due to being uncomfortable. I am in my sweats and t-shirt with hair in ponytail most of the time. I do manage to try to do something with my hair and dress a little nicer when I go out in public depending on how I'm feeling because I hate going out in public with sweat pants on. I do change right back into them as soon as I get home. I usually only wear sneakers when I go outside the house too unless I'm going to a funeral or fancy function which is rare. I can't stand wearing dress shoes anymore, even flats.

    It makes me feel so unattractive though and I feel my husband has lost interest in me because I do look so sloppy all the time. He really does notice on the days I do my hair, put on a pair of jeans and nice shirt and put some make up on but these are rare occasions.
  • For a long time I couldn't wear regular shoes, I had to wear sandals with socks. Even in the winter! And I taught preschool dressed that way, UGH! But the nerve pain was so bad and I could kick the sandals off quickly. I can only wear flat shoes which makes dressing up a challenge. And now I wear men's size tennishoes because my bunions make my foot so wide! I also wear my jeans baggy because of the many sensitive scars on my back. Our band is going to an open mic night on Sat. and I'm singing a few songs. I want to make a good impression, baggy pants and white tennis shoes won't work! I'm going to have to get creative. I am so sorry you are feeling horrible, I hope you catch a break soon !

    Faith M
  • I have had the same problem since 1999 at first it was just one leg ( shin & ankle )but now I have the same problem with both shins, ankles and my spine' I cannot lie on my back for very long in bed before I'm woken with the pain through the day I cannot wait to wear my shorts I find vibrations and loud noises hurts as does the wind (the outside wind that is) touch feels like a kick! people think I'm mad and so did I!until I found this website
    I do get some relief taking Gabapentin tablets and wearing Duragesic pain patches ( Gabapentin 600mg and Duragesic patches were fantastic at first I would like my dose increased because the relief does not last as much as it did when I first started using them )I have had operations on both shoulders nearly a year ago and I cannot lie on either shoulders or my back so I have to sleep sitting up.
  • I was exactly like you a few years ago.I couldn't do a thing the nerve pain was so intense all the time it didn't matter what i tried to do it would put me if a pain flare for days on end.Nerve pain won't respond to most narcotic pain meds.I started taking nerve pain meds. perscribed by my neurologist and it literally saved my life until i had my operation.I was in so much pain i was ready to kill myself but no one seemed to understand how bad it was and i was put off for a very long time.Unfortunately too long as now i have permanent nerve damage.Whenever i overstress my body the nerve pain comes on strong enough that i don't sleep.I still have my nerve pain meds. and when that happens i take a pill or too to calm it down.unfortunately that will be my life forever now.I hope that your issues are resolved quickly so that doesn't happen to you. Good luck this month with your mri and doctors apt.
  • Yes, I know exactly what you mean! Whilst I have numerous suits and stylish clothes in my wardrobe, they're neither suitable nor comfortable enough to wear now. When I have to go in for hospital appointments, I wear a 3/4 length Barbour over my one set of crummy clothes which still fit/are comfortable. One size hides all lol !

    On the subject of how people talk to you, I've conducted my own experiments on this over many years. I discovered at a very young age that if I use my title in hospitals, I'm treated with respect, whereas if I call myself 'Mrs', the respect drops noticeably. It's all pathetic; we're treated by the way in which we look, speak and even by our names.

    On a recent 3-week hospital admission, a 92 year-old lady was brought in who was unkempt and dirty. The nursing staff treated her appallingly; then they discovered (well actually I told them!) that she'd been matron, in charge of a large ward in a teaching hospital. Once they realised her former position, their attitude towards her changed astronomically!

    Wear your comfy clothes and don't worry about the rest of the world. When they've got debilitating back pain, they'll understand and will be writing posts exactly like this.

    Bye, Val
  • Straker, it is totally possible to dress comfy and still look nice. :D i have had this problem for many years and have found ways to "dress around" it... always wear the best shoes you can, clean and polished... this is the basis of your day and you need to be comfortable here most of all!! i find that wearing dark stretch pants means i can wear all kinds of tops with them from a scrub to a cute tee.. :D you can get stretch pants that look just like regular pants or just a great pair or stretchers.. i love mine.. :X good luck and try a variety of things.. you will find what is comfy and stylish too.... it can be done, even on a budget! =D> Jenny :)
  • its just a shame that many cant see beyond the cane /wheelchair /stodgy clothing etc .i know now how some people in wheel chairs feel .when they say that pupil see the chair not the person .and i am still getting abuse from older drivers when i pull into a blue badge space ..and some are really nasty even when i show them my badge i even shown a traffic warden my 7 inch scar up my back ..it bad enough being ill ..its terrible being hassled when you are ill ..my wife is away on business for a few days and i an so missing her !!!! i would hate to be ill and live on my own ..i could not do it .i know that some of you do and i take my hat off to you
  • I'm so sorry you are having problems with other peoples attitude. I got lucky when my ortho saw me he said I see you have the right shoes already. He recommends everyone get crocs, so does my foot doctor. I'm not sure what your crocs look like but they now have them that look professional. They are in black, brown and white specifically to be worn as work shoes. I hope you will find some pants you can wear. I know how difficult it can be to find something comfortable, but you should try with the weather getting colder. I would hate for you to get ill. Maybe go out and buy some new designer T's. Are you on any type of medication like Lyrica to settle the nerve pain a little?
  • i carnt take lyrica /gabapentin /amitriptyline or any of the others ..so i have to make do with large amounts of oxycontin
  • I was fortunate to have some of my fat clothes left. I lost about 100 lbs in the last 18 months. Now I have gained back about 40 lbs, due to depression eating (all carbs) and limited ability to do anything but walk. And that was limited even more about 60 days before my surgery. So I have some fat pants that aren't so tight they bother my nerves in thighs especially. But what upsets me more is shoes. I would NEVER ever be caught dead in Crocs. To those that wear them, that is not an insult just personal opinion. I LOVE heels and cannot wear them yet (if ever) and that just bugs the fire out of me. My bf wants to go out for NYE and I have been trying on clothes and shoes for 2 days. My black cane will go with anything LOL. And sorry for complaining about something trivial, but it really bothers me since I am used to dressing stylishly, even when I was a bigger gal. Honey I looked good.
  • I liked wearing heals too. I called them my big girl shoes lol. I felt taller in them since I'm only 5'4" - 5'5". Since my back started getting pretty bad before surgery I had to start wearing sneakers. I still have all my big girl shoes but since I've been wearing sneakers for so long or just wear socks around the house, I think my feet have widened.

    When I was still working, I would wear my business suits with sneakers lol. It was so professional. I had to get a note from my doctor cuz they didn't allow this where I worked. I only wear newbalance as they are supposed to be the best with arch support and the most comfy for me.

    We went out for dinner a couple of weeks ago for my birthday and I wore heals and man was my back, legs and feet killing me by the time I got home....not to mention I looked silly walking in heals cuz it's been so long, I had a hard time walking in them.

    Just be careful wearing your big girl shoes. If it hurts your back or legs then you will have to switch to flats.
  • I hate to say this, but not only do doctors, nurses, counselors and psychiatrists judge you by what you wear, but they also have to chart it. The first thing you chart is physical appearance, because it is supposed to tell them how that person feels...ie:if you are dressed nicely then you are judged as feeling better and vice versa. I am a counselor, and I am required to chart this. :( It doesn't mean I agree with it. Also, if that person were to explain, I believe I would also chart the explaination so it was not included as a negative. However, you were right on when you stated this.
  • To holmar - is that in the UK or US?
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