If I told you that there is a place where socks have magical powers, would you believe me? What if I told you that there is one place in the world, where the color of your socks determines how you are treated? In this place, the very color of your socks determine whether you can shower or even walk around without assistance. Hard to imagine, huh? Well friends, it’s true. There is a place in the world where the color of your socks is more important than your name, socioeconomic status, and even IQ. Where is this sockland you ask? It’s THE HOSPITAL! Yes, the hospital my friends.
If you battle with chronic illness and/or pain like I do, then you likely know your way around the hospital. I am a self appointed Hospitalzar. Yep, I am a recognized hospital expert. I can give you a personal tour of any hospital in my city, the name of almost every chief nursing officer for the hospitals in my city, and give you the exact location of the secret sandwiches at almost EVERY nurse’s station in the hospitals in my city. Told ya, I am a hospital expert. With conditions like Crohn’s and Rheumatoid Arthritis, just to name a few, I kinda became one after spending so much time in the hospital. But, in addition to being a patient, I have also worked at hospitals. So, I have gained my knowledge of hospitals from the vantage points of both hospital patient, and hospital employee.
While I loathe being in the hospital away from my kiddos and husband, there is one thing I do enjoy…the gear, specifically the socks. I don’t know what it is, but I love a nice fresh pair of hospital socks. They are soft and comfy. I used to love entering my hospital room and opening the drawers looking for unopened pairs of socks. I would always gravitate towards the bright colors, and never knew that the colors actually had meaning. See, the color of your socks actually alerts the staff to the type of patient they are dealing with. When I looked at the socks, all I saw was pretty colors like yellow, blue, red, orange, and neon green. But when hospital staff look at the socks, they see fall risk, allergy, do not resuscitate, flight risk and etc. Who knew????
Generally speaking, the sock color options are red, orange, neon green, blue, and yellow. Red socks typically mean that the wearer has allergies. Orange means the wearer is a potential flight risk. Depending on my reason for being in the hospital, orange could easily be my color…joking, but not really. Purple socks mean that the wearer has an advance directive such as do not resuscitate. Finally, yellow means that the wearer needs special attention. Patients wearing yellow socks are usually the highest risk patients for falls. Yes friends, I am a yellow and high risk patient for falls. Now, this likely comes as no surprise for several reasons…one of which is that I am EXTREMELY clumsy.
Some patients are considered fall risks due to certain health conditions or medications such as narcotics. Others patients are considered fall risks because of their advanced age and unsteadiness. Then friends, there is me. I am considered a fall risk because I am on pain medications that can make me drowsy and I am genetically clumsy. Frankly, the dominate reason I am a fall risk is because I am EXTREMELY clumsy. If there is a crumb or air molecule on the floor, I will fall over it. I am the person that trips over nothing. I have fallen out of chairs for no reason at all. Once, I maanged to fall down a flight of stairs backwards… still trying to figure out how that happened.
Now, we have discussed my strange sense of humor and love for practical jokes. Well, given that, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t find something fun to do with my yellow socks…and the risk title assisgned to them. You know I had to rise to the challenge. On day 3 of my 6 day hospitalization recently, I decided to take a walk down the halls in my yellow socks. I wanted to see what the nursing staff would do if they saw someone in yellow socks stumbling down the hall unassisted. So, that is exactly what I did.
After drinking all of my colonoscopy prep, I slowly climbed out of bed. I thought that walking the halls would give me my practical joke fix, and have me up and mobile to assist in the digestion process. See that Type A thinking there? Two birds with one stone. Anyway, I slowly crawled out of bed and creeped into the hallway dragging my IV pole next to me. 20 or so feet in the distance, I could see 4 nurses sitting at the nurses station. It looked as if they were doing their charting for the night. Immediately when I entered the hallway, three nurses looked up. I nodded to say hello, and gave my signature smile. I stood still with my IV pole next to me for about 10 seconds wondering if someone would ask if I needed something. After 10 seconds of silence, I took off walking as fast as I could dragging the IV pole behind me. The nurses immediately jumped up and ran towards me grabbing for my arms to hold me steady. I was amazed at how they just sprung into action…simply because of the color of my socks. My yellow sock adventure was short lived. The nurses told me that because of my yellow socks, I had to have assistance walking the halls, taking a shower, getting up to use the restroom and etc. Given how much I loathe asking for and receiving help, most of my time in the hospital was spent in bed.