Always wear clean underwear – especially when traveling


If your mother is anything like mine she told you more than once, “Always wear clean underwear, in case you get into an accident.”  You mom had a fear that if you got in an accident that God forbid the emergency room doctors and nurses would see your worn out dirty underwear.

How funny, even as an adult these trite sayings of mom stick with us. This blog came to mind because of a conversation with a sick friend. I said “take a shower you will feel better.” She said “I have to so I can put on clean underwear in case I have to go to the hospital.”

Now I have been a nurse for many, many years. I have worked in many areas including the emergency room. This is a conversation I have never heard.  “Hey Doc you have got to go see that guy in room three his drawers have more holes than a guy shot with a Saturday night special.” Never once has the topic at the nurse’s station been, “Ok ladies who wants to see the worst grayish old fashioned granny panties to come through this ER because I got the lady wearing them.”

“Airway, breathing, circulation, underwear,” Not part of the nursing assessment. We are far more concerned with the patient ailment than their underwear. I have heard, “room two broken femur, room three laceration, room four in labor.” Never once have I heard, “room one boxers, room two briefs, room three tightly whites, room four pink lace panties.”

Nor have I ever had a doctor write an order, “Send underwear to lab for cleanliness testing.”  No doctor has ever said, “Wait do not touch that guy, no CPR here, he has on contaminated soiled underwear.” The registration process does not say, “Name, address, birth date, clean or dirty underwear.” There is no board in the nurse lounge listing the names of the “Underwear Hall of Shame.”

The only things I recall concerning underwear as a nurse were as a supervisor counseling a nurse about her underwear and laughing with one patient. When one young nurse wore her white uniform with great big red hearts on her underwear that shown through I had to counsel her. I took her aside and told her I could see huge hearts all over her butt. She was mortified and wore her sweater tied around her waist the rest of the shift. The patient we laughed with was a lady who came in wearing a coat with nothing on under it except leopard underwear. She had been getting ready to go somewhere when she realized she left something in the car. She threw on her coat to go and get it and slipped in the ice and broke her leg. A passer-by called 911 and stayed with her until they came. When she came into the ER and we wanted to take her coat off to put her in a gown she said, “They are clean I promise but I don’t have anything on except my underwear,” we all laughed. Doc said he would give her a note to send to her mother that she was in fact seen in the ER with clean underwear on.

So mom’s ever where take note, tell your kids to drive safe and don’t worry about their underwear we really never look. Of course we would like them to wear some and that thread they call a thong does not qualify as underwear.

(I recently wrote this fun piece for my friend Cindy Brookshire’s blog and I just had to share on my blog too  check out my friend Cindy’s blog at )

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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