The Outfit I Will Never wear again

short stories

My fingertips played through the pyjamas on the H&M rail. The call of the Bat logo was strong but the hospital had said I wouldn’t be able to lift my arms above my head. I’d never get my bat chic on. Maybe I’d have time to make some….

My ‘phone rang:

“Lucy? It’s Gillian from Southampton Hospital. We’ve had a cancellation, you can come in this afternoon.”

Eeek – did she mean a death?

I called my husband Bassalot (because he likes bass – a lot) who very calmly, said “Well, what do you want to do?”

What did I want to do? I was actually just on my way to meet a good friend, Katy, for a couple of glasses of Prosecco at Southsea castle and earlier that morning I’d said I’d cover at Avalon all day Friday (tomorrow) where I worked. I was feeding my friends cats at the weekend while she was at a festival, had barely started my iron rich diet and – my pyjamas weren’t ready.

All weighed up against the very serious matter that my heart needed fixing. I decided against the cancellation and Gillian was very understanding. Both realities co-existed in my mind over the next seven weeks but project pyjama was back on! Well, if a fashionista has to go into hospital for a hi-octane heart bypass operation completely out of the blue, said fashionista is gonna need some lo brow frivolities to take her mind off it. So I bought a pattern, scoured the fabrics on offer locally and had decided on some purple leopard print velour with skull buttons from Amazon. De nerr!

Finally in hospital, I scrubbed up for the last time with fluorescent pre surgical purge. As I’d be asleep for a while, I decided I should have ‘good hair’ so gave it an extra condition. I then slid my pink, iron laden body of antimicrobial goodness into my purple leopard velour jim jams. Rod Stewart looked back at me from the mirror.

I texted Bassalot and told him I loved him with all my achy breaky heart and he should probably be drinking tequila about now. I also relayed my Rod Stewart concerns. He sent me the selfie he’d taken before he left and assured me that Mr Stewart was the coolest. Then he sent me a picture of a bottle and a shot of tequila.

Night time was sweaty. The synthetic velour adding an extra layer of shrink wrap to my steely resolve. I took the heat though as I had read an article saying velour pyjamas were big news.

I had a heart bypass operation.

Two nights later Kung Fu nurse strode into my room and hooked my neck in the crook of her elbow to swing me into a seated position like a rag doll.

“You can get out of this gown now and put your pyjamas back on.”

I had dared to imagine this moment. Dared to imagine my life post op: hopefully pain free, unregimented by pills and iron consumption, and gloriously enrobed in purple leopard velour. I did put them on and looked in the mirror.

Hi Rod. After it’s well coiffed entrance into theatre, Rod‘s hair was now a fashion crime. There was a narrow white dressing covering my protruding chest bone, showing small red dots disappearing down my cleavage. Like the ‘Cut Here’ line on a sewing pattern.

Kung Fu nurse did checks every four hours and I got hotter and hotter until I overtook the safe mark. There was talk of blood tests and charts and doctors and eventually the velour was laid to rest in favour of a sleeveless shirt and pants.

I still have Rod in a drawer. But there he will stay.

Three years ago I was diagnosed with coronary heart disease and was told I needed a heart bypass operation. I had a lot of time post surgery so thought I’d write the whole thing down.

As a forty something year old relatively fit female it had taken 18 months to diagnose why I was getting stomach pains and what had led to my human malfunction one Monday morning in the local Post Office.

Luckily an ambulance was nearby, I wasn’t billed for my overnight stay with the NHS and 6 months later I got the surgery I needed to give me my best chance of continued life on planet Earth.

I wrote these 500 words as a competition entry entitled ‘The Outifit I Will never Wear Again’ and subsequently used it as a spoken word piece as part of ‘The Front Room’ Women’s Day event.

To read the full story of the funny / sad / gruesome events unfolding, follow my blog and hold on for the ride!

Chapter 1 will be here on Monday 26th August at ten past six pm!

2 thoughts on “The Outfit I Will Never wear again

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