The phrase "hospital beauty" may be an oxymoron. With newly gained experience, I can assure you that how I looked after surgery wasn't as important as I had anticipated. Before my surgery last week, I had never spent a night in a hospital - not one!
I know it's not wise to take anything to a hospital that you wouldn't mind "losing." It's an unfortunate fact that if it's lust-worthy, it may "disappear" before you are ready to go home. I packed lightly to go to the hospital, but still took too much with me. Everything I took fit into a large Estée Lauder tote that had been a gift with purchase - a big tote, but just one bag.
What did I take, and what did I actually use? The outcome surprised me. Everything I used I kept on my bedside table, the one I dubbed "command central." If I could reach it, I used it. I didn't want to hit the call button to ask an aide to fetch my bag from the closet.
I took four lip balms. Now you know my priorities! I used two of them. The hospital winners? Jo Malone Vitamin E Lip Conditioner with SPF 15 and the multipurpose Eucerin Aquaphor. I used the Aquaphor on my lips and on my fingers where the skin had split open from dryness. I'm glad I had both with me.
I took an emery board, and I used it. You never know when a nail will start to fray, and it's handy to have a fix ready. Did I use the nail clipper I packed? Nope.
I also took teeth whitening strips. That was crazy - to think I would care how white my teeth looked - or that I'd have a lot of time to kill. It was a chore just to get to the bathroom. Knee surgery patients aren't allowed to move without an escort, so I took only the essentials - toothpaste, tooth brush, tongue cleaner, and mouth rinse - with me as I rolled my walker into the bathroom.
The most embarrassing admission is that I didn't use the eye cream and moisturizer I took. I never felt dry on my face, so those essentials went unused. I did use a hand cream, but reached for the body moisturizer the hospital provided. It was pretty nice (as is the hospital with its private rooms), and it was sitting on command central. I didn't have to ask anyone to dig through my bag for the KORRES Guava Body Butter tube, the body moisturizer I had taken with me.
Did I use the rollerball fragrance I took? No. What was I thinking? Did I use the foundation stick or sponge? It never crossed my mind! Before I went, I thought my red nose might drive me crazy. Your appearance can't drive you crazy if there are no mirrors. Did I use the makeup remover? This is starting to feel like "true confessions." Nope!
Did I look good? No. I'm sure I looked tired (and old). That's what the bathroom mirror told me. Then there was the nice-looking doctor at the central desk who watched me "fly" by with my walker. I'm not sure whether his attention was drawn by my "hospital beauty" or my superb walker skills. Don't they teach those guys to avert their eyes?
I learned what's absolutely essential to a three-day "survival" event. Had I been there longer, I'm sure I would have pulled out that Body Butter. It's sitting next to my bed, and I just used it. Also in frequent use right now is Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick. There's something comforting right now about its slightly medicinal taste.
Of course I also have all my loopy pills next to my bed! Now you know the genesis of this feature.
Photo of Edvard Munch's The Scream