Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hospital Beauty

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


Unknown said...

I truly dislike staying in hospitals (even if it's just visiting someone), so I understand how you feel. When I stayed in hospitals for a long time the only thing I wanted was a book (the longer the better):) Glad this experience is over for you.

Charlestongirl said...

Your comment left me giggling, Anna. I don't mind visiting others, but being the one in the bed isn't much fun. :)

I wouldn't have had the attention span for a book. I did look at the magazines a friend brought over.

Pam said...

So glad to see your sense of humor. I'm sure this was one heck of an ordeal for you...and still is. I am with you all the way though about those hospital stays. I've been in three times to have three children and thank you God they all had Apgar scores of 9 so they could leave when I did!!! lol

Charlestongirl said...

Too funny, Pam! I'm sure you were relieved by their scores for lots of great reasons, including going home. :)

I was totally bummed by my pain management issue, which prevented me from getting out early. They had already agreed I could go home Thursday late, but they kept me there Friday for morphine. Hmmm...good or bad?

Nikkia (Silver Lips) said...

Wow!! You truly are a Diva at heart! When I was hospitalized I took everything but beauty products and I looked a hot mess LOL! Glad your home safe and sound and hope you have a speedy recovery :-)

Eileen said...

I've been so very fortunate in that I have never had to stay overnight in a hospital. I remember well, though, how funny my mom's priorities seemed to me when she went into the hospital for the final time (cancer). She had beautiful hair to just below the bottom of her buttocks and, of course, that couldn't be left to get snarled. So, every day she's have me brush and braid her hair. That was a very soothing time for both of us and gliding the brush through her beautiful hair helped calm our apprehension. But then, she'd want me to shave her legs! That's right, her number one beauty priority was for me to shave her legs every day. Funny, huh?

Lucy said...

So glad to hear you survived the hospital experience and are on the road to recovery! God bless you.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Nikkia!

You could not have looked worse than I did. :)

Even with products at hand, I did without things that are normally essential. Gotta get back in the swing of things, though. I have pretty new things to test.


Charlestongirl said...

Eileen, that's so sweet. Reminds us all how important human touch can be.

As for the legs, I suspect your mom was "proper." Naturally, proper ladies would think about things like that with docs and nurses seeing their legs! I think I'd better go shave before PT today.

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Lucy!

Miss Brahms said...

C-Girl, I share your aversion to asking for help or pressing the call button when you need to get one of your belongings! I had a little command center tray for both of my hospital stays, and I agree 100% with you, the lip balm was the most important item - it seems our lips are the first to dessicate from either the anesthesia or the arid hospital environment! I like the Jo Malone lip balm, but I've found one that I love available at drugstores that is easy to apply and goes on silkily - Lipsyl - a Swedish beeswax-and-honey formula that has a lever on the side to bring the product up and down. IT isn't waxy like Burts Bees, either.
Eileen, your touching story about your mother brings back a memory for me - I'd had a terrible labor with the birth of my first child, and I'd whipped my hair into a mass of sweaty dreadlocks. I was puffy and bloated and a complete mess, in pain, disoriented, when my estranged mother came to visit me and see her first grandson - she simply asked the nurse for a brush and brushed all the snarls out of my hair.
C-Girl, I would gladly donate some samples and beauty products to convalescing women in the hospital who aren't feeling their prettiest!
I am happy that you are feeling better! :)

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Miss Brahms!

There must be a thousand lip balms so that we can all find favorites. :)

I'm working up the energy to go to PT. I wish I had an appetite. I think I've lost about five pounds, and I'm probably still a bit anemic. Got to rally!

Speaking of snarls, I totally understand! In the hospital, my hair got all snarly too. I kept doing finger brushing. There has to be a way to keep hair untangled when in bed. The "real bedhead" is uncomfy!

Amy said...

Aw, Charlestongirl, thank you for the lovely post sharing your days. I wish I could send you a hug!! Take care and I hope your recovery is smooth and quick! :)

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Amy! I got that virtual hug. :)

Clarisse said...

Hi Charlestongirl
your post made me smile...but I understand all the nasty moments you went through, we feel at our worse on an hospital bed...the thing-never -to-forget is the lipbalm: the air is so dry, our lips feel "cracked"...
Anyway I am glad it is all behind you and hope the pain is "relenting".
Charlie is such a sweet boy, so happy to have you by his side again:-)
I do wish you a speedy recovery now and big hugs to both of you:-)

JoElla said...

Charlestongirl, I am glad you are home from the hospital, and IMO an extra day on morphine.. BONUS! HAHHA
And I have no idea what causes the nappy head syndrome we all get in the hospital. Nothing can prevent it.
Isn't it ironic that one truly does learn what their 'desert island' products are while staying in the hospital?

2 1/2 years ago I had a major surgery. And me being slightly anal about what I "might" need, packed my entire face regime because one never knows what one might want or need.

Here is what didn't work for me.
Books and magazines. I was too doped up to focus long enough to read a paragraph. Back in the bag they went

My own jammies. Between all of the wires, and iv's and the dreaded cath, they only came out when I was discharged.

Foot cream, heck I couldn't reach my feet.. stayed in the bag.

Slippers.. nope, those little non slip socks worked, or I wore comfy socks at night (that I couldn't put on myself, thank goodness for wonderful nurses that I bribed with See's Candy!)

Nail stuff.. oh please, if I couldn't focus on a rag mag, there was no way I could focus long enough to throw on a clear coat.

I also had a 'central command" and what I did reach for was my eye cream, face cream a lip balm and Pure Grace body lotion and a tooth brush/paste.

Now as far as your PT, trust me, they have seen legs that are more furry, so if you can't or don't feel like shaving, you will have pleanty of other times to shave for them ;)

Feel better soon! And good luck with PT!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Clarisse,

Thank you! My boy "took off" awhile ago when FedEx came. Wish he would come back. I miss my little bed warmer. :)

Charlestongirl said...

JoElla, you had me laughing out loud. So true!

Those little non-slip socks were mandatory, as was the hospital gown. The PT gave me a second gown, so I could wear it "backwards" and walk around without exposing myself. Was a great idea.

I sure know what you mean about having no attention span. Most of the tIme, I watched TV for "mental stimulation." There was a Glee double header one night.

Too funny about reaching your feet! Good thing we can look back and laugh.

Thanks for the best wishes!

Kelly said...

I had no idea!!! Feel better! I 've had knee surgery before and it's NOT FUN. You're gorgeous no matter what - but thanks for sharing your tale!!

Charlestongirl said...

Hey Kelly, thanks! Did you have yours replaced? I had arthroscoppic years ago. Obviously didn't work all that well.

Anne said...

I love that you attempted to be glamorous at the hospital, and you used far more than I ever did during my two hospital stays. Kudos for making the best of your situation!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi there, Anne! Y'all are making me feel like my beauty neglect was normal. Love it!

Lucy said...

So sorry you are going through this, but of course it will help you immensely once you are all healed up. Last time I was in the hospital, I could not use anything until it was time to leave, I did my face after getting dressed to get out of there. At home and mostly housebound/bed bound, I found that perfume was really important, especially the comfort scents (for me Lavender Honey by Monica Miller and Body Made Luminous by Alexis Karl). Moisturizing a lot, that was/is comforting. After awhile at home I ended up using face and hair treatments as a self care regimen. Glad you could make the best of your situation!