Clothing is my life. Shallow, sad but true. My mother announced when I was 10 or 11 that she could tell that I was going to be a clothes horse when I grew up. She said this resignedly. I had no idea what she was talking about and I definitely didn’t like horses. I have always been my grandmother’s child, so there it is – life defined by what you wear. Grandma could tell you all about the lavender dress she wore when her father’s will was read. I can remember what I wore when going far back. And no, it’s not because it’s memorialized in pictures. I remember what I bought, when and usually how much it cost. One of my first paychecks went to a pair of Bobbie Brooks brushed denim bellbottom blue jeans with camel stitching. I wore this for my first week of college with a beige ribbed turtleneck. I wore a plum shantung dress with a full skirt and short jacket when I was 10 to see “The Brothers Grimm” with my aunt in NYC. Oh, and yes, of course there were short white gloves. See what I mean?
I dress for the occasion. For my initial appointment at Mt. Sinai I believe I had on a hunting jacket and black skirt. I definitely wore black leather 2.5 inch heels. When I had my first MRI, I went locally and was told no metal, no bra with hooks. So, sports bra, sweatshirt and sweatpants. I hate being seen that way unless I am at the gym. At Mt. Sinai, it’s not an issue as they want everything off and provide gown and pants. It’s slightly hilarious as it’s one size larger fits everyone and I can’t wear the spectral leg. Last month, I had to have the MRI locally again. It was really hot so I wore an Old Navy navy blue sundress with turquoise embroidery, no bra. And nothing showed! Ahem, I can “protrude”.
I decided after the MRI came back with spinal deterioration, to get my long delayed bone density scan. It came with the now familiar no metal caution. What to wear? My plan was my Sudara blue/green pants with a green tank top. Overnight, it was fall. No sundresses and bare legs. Here’s the thing – I can’t do the sports bra thing anymore. I am not strong enough. Tom gets too frustrated helping me get them on and off. Wow, have we aged! So, a totally discombobulated outfit ensued. Track pants, a Coldwater Creek sleeveless black top with tiers (to hide the “girls”) and at the last moment a grey knit poncho because it was so cold. On my feet, the spectral leg and my Jackson Pollack influenced splatter sneakers (Target, $11.99). It all made me feel horrible, like an old bag lady.
The scan took place in the Women’s Imaging Center so no help from Tom. Great news! I didn’t have to remove the spectral leg or the sneakers. Getting me on and off the table can only be described as fun.
Mission accomplished. As we stumble out to the main area, the tech comments on my great sneakers. My take on shoes is not to appear handicapped. I hate those big galumphous black shoes you are supposed to wear. The sneakers are something I would have worn in my old, “normal” life. I can’t say that for all my shoe compromises. Many times, it feels patronizing when people tell me how they like my shoes. I know, I know; it’s the effect I strive for. I am not sure how often people say this to able-bodied people. The tech and another one wish they could wear ones like that. They are not allowed. They must wear all black including shoes. Their feeling is that being able to wear color would help both them and their patients. I agree. There’s a difference between being professional and being somber. We all need to dress for the occasion.