I have a couple of stories to tell you that have to do with clothes.
The first patient was a twenty-two year old man who was drunk and crashed his car while racing. He came by ambulance, escorted by the arresting police. He was strapped to the spine board, swearing at and flipping off everyone who tried to help him. He was thrashing around so much we had to sedate him in order to perform studies on him to be sure he was not injured internally.
Several x-rays, scans and hours later, he was ready to go to jail. When he stood to go, it was clear he needed some help with his pants. In order to expose his legs, the medics had slit his long, baggy pants up the front of both legs from the hems to the waistband. When walking, they flopped around has legs so much I was afraid they would trip him. I had him lie back down, grabbed my trauma shears and cut the pant legs off about the level of the hems of his boxers. When he stood again, it was clear they were so loose might fall down when he walked so I grabbed some strips of gauze and tied a loop between the front two belt loops and synched the waist to keep it up around his hips. I was feeling really good about my efforts on his behalf until he stood again to go. The last thing he did before they handcuffed him with his arms behind his back was to grab the waistline of his newly formed shorts and tug them down off his hips so he could be fashionable as he headed off to the hoosegow.
There is no rule saying everyone must wear underwear. Yet, I can tell you after many years of seeing people in various stages of undress that the vast majority of people in our society do so. The term for going without underwear is “going commando.” In the emergency department, when I picture going commando, I picture a dirty homeless man or a woman in a very short skirt who was beaten up by someone she expected to pay her for some services rendered. Let me tell you about one patient going commando that was a unlike any other I have ever seen.
She was a nineteen-years-old trauma patient who came in, as they usually do, all strapped down to a spine board. She was nervous but pleasant and cooperative (unlike the first guy) and was dressed in a large, thick, white terrycloth bathrobe. As we got the straps off the board and started to examine her, we realized she had nothing on under the robe at all.
The story was that she got in an argument with her boyfriend. He got mad, bolted to his car and took off. She ran out, got in her car and sped after him without bothering to get dressed. She then drove in a crazy manner that lead to the crash. Fortunately, she was not seriously injured and was soon released into the custody of the waiting Highway Patrol.
Someone referred to her as going commando to jail. Then someone else joked that she was actually going “super commando” as she walked out, hands cuffed behind her back, wearing only her white terrycloth robe.
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