Brief thoughts on my recent confinement

January 15, 2011 by  
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Brief thoughts on my recent confinement

Brief thoughts on my recent confinement

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Home Page > Health > Brief thoughts on my recent confinement

Brief thoughts on my recent confinement

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Posted: Jul 24, 2009 |Comments: 0


I never in my wildest dreams imagined women’s underwear styles would one day become a major–even ruling–interest in my life.

It would have seemed as unlikely as winding up in a nursing home while still in my early 50s.

Yet both happened–simultaneously–earlier this year.

For reasons that will become obvious I developed what I ultimately called a “bottometer” to predict daily attitude (health, happiness, etc.) while confined in a skilled nursing facility. It was a negative scale. The more repulsed and aggravated and irritated I was by unwanted, yet unavoidable, closeup views of VPL’s and/or panties and/or their silhouettes, the better I actually felt overall.

The sight of a low-rise crimson tanga with a broad black lace trim screaming through stretched white poly-cotton pants could raise my ire (what could she possibly be thinking) enough to provide me with adrenaline sufficient to last a day or more.

But I’m getting ahead of the story.


Brief: A traditional rise panty with full coverage in the rear. For a modern take on a classic silhouette choose a brief in seamless microfiber. –Bare Necessities® Panty Glossary  

My dining companions at the nursing facility were three older women with long experience with nursing homes–in general and with this one in particular. Two were in their late 70s and one was in her late 90s (she was the most independent, able to wheel herself around in a wheelchair). All of them loved to sing and I was always willing to join in with them. I surprised them by not only knowing favorites like “Bicycle Built for Two” and “Ivan Skavinsky Skavar” but also standards like “Twilight Time” by The Platters:

Heavenly shades of night are falling
It’s twilight time
Out of the mist your voice is calling
It’s twilight time
When purple colored curtains
Mark the end of the day
I hear you my dear at twilight time

We got along very well.

Their most consistent complaint (and it came up daily in one form or another) concerned aides who “dressed like sluts” and “always seem to be scratching”–even in church.

I hadn’t noticed the latter habit, but once pointed out to me I couldn’t seem to escape it. It was, after all, happening at eye level.

“Would you like dome more coffee?” an aide would ask–handing me a cup with one hand while scratching away with the other.

My companions’ theory was that if those aides cared so little about themselves you just knew where we ranked.

One day one of the younger women, who had been uncharacteristically morose during the meal, suddenly burst into tears.

We discovered, in bits and pieces over time, that earlier in the day an aide had wheeled her out into the hall in order to do something in the room. The aide then went around a corner and promptly forgot her.

“I could hear her every once in a while—she was complaining to another aide about how a resident had filed a complaint against her and how terribly unfair it was—but she just left me there. After a while—a half hour or more–I really needed to use the restroom. But I was stuck out there with no way to call anyone for help. I yelled a couple of times, but nothing.”

What happened next wasn’t the worst case scenario, of course—that would be death—but it was adequately humiliating. My companion was left feeling helpless.

“I’ve placed my life in the hands of someone so stupid she wears a bright red bra and panties under a white uniform. I guess I should be glad I only wet my pants.”

“Well,” another of the women said, “her chartreuse undergarments are even worse. I think they glow in the dark.”

We had to laugh—it hurt too much not to.


Bikini: A moderate coverage silhouette offering more coverage than a thong, but not as much as a brief. Bikinis have waistbands which usually lay somewhere between the navel and hip (unless Low Rise) and have semi-hi-cut legs and a moderate coverage back. String bikinis offer considerably less coverage than an average bikini. Bikinis are a super comfortable medium coverage silhouette that won’t show thru under heavier fabrics like denim or wool. –Bare Necessities® Panty Glossary


When I was in nursing school 30-plus years ago several of the older biddy nurses spent what seemed an inordinate time on appearance.

At that time female to male ratio in nursing was about 18-1 and we men were novelties.

The dress code called for a white skirt and “one or two slips as needed” along with a white blouse “made of material substantial enough to obscure undergarments” and a smock. Dresses were discouraged but, if worn, had to be cut in such a way the hemline didn’t rise when the woman reached straight overhead. Pants were banned outright.

The older biddy nurses had been known to stand a young nurse in front of a spotlight (legs apart, hands raised ala Di Vinci) to make sure her clothing was adequately opaque.

The concession–and single rule–added for men was white pants, white shirt and white smock “of material and design commensurate with the goals of the rules for women.”


Low Rise: A panty with a rise of 7 inches or less. The rise is the measurement between the waistband and the first horizontal seam. We categorize low rise into three categories: Modest Rise–6-7 inches; Low Rise–4.5 to 5.5 inches ; Daringly Low Rise–4 inches or lower. –Bare Necessities® Panty Glossary


Another strange obsession of the older biddy nurses was the relative position of the nurse and patient. There were right ways for entering and exiting rooms, taking vitals, etc. Some procedures (major dressing changes for example) were “blocked” as elaborately as a Broadway play.

The major rule–one that seemed silly to us–was never turn your back on the patient. Like a television evangelist, you were supposed to go about your task without ever completely breaking eye contact—even when it required contortions.

What the older biddy nurses didn’t tell us (or at least the men) but almost certainly knew was a person stuck in a bed or wheelchair or even chair has a butt-high line-of-sight. Add that to the unavoidable close proximity involved in nursing care and the consequences start at unpleasant and move downward. I never really understood this until I changed roles.


Thong: A popular panty silhouette with a triangle shaped front panel, thin side panels and minimal coverage in back for a no-show look under clothes. –Bare Necessities® Panty Glossary


Make no mistake: I was in a first class skilled nursing facility and received first class care. Any complaints I make–stated or inferred–are broader than a single facility and tend to be universal.

Staff-wise at my skilled nursing facility the overall female to male ratio was about the same 18-1 as when I was in nursing school. The nurse to aide (including tech) ratio was about 1-12 and and the therapist (physical and occupational) to aide ratio about 1-6.

Everyone, but nurses and techs in particular, worked a lot of double shifts (16 or 20 hours) or quick returns (back after only 8-12 hours off). At least once I noticed none of the nurses on my floor left at shift change–although a couple changed work assignments.

The food service workers were polite and, for the most part, efficient. The cooks I met were very good and willing to make special dishes when asked in advance.

The food was better than most institutional food and at time it bordered on being very good. Soups were especially good and desserts were particularly decadent. Maintaining an appetite was not a chore.

My dealings with the administration were limited, but typical—some anonymous bureaucrat or another would get excited because this or that form was incomplete and the nurse or aide would calmly help the patient take care of it in order to “keep them off your back.”


String Bikini: A bikini with thin string sides. This traditional silhouette offers comfortable, minimal to moderate coverage. String bikinis that are seamless, or constructed of smooth fabrics like microfiber and mesh virtually disappear under medium to heavy fabrics. –Bare Necessities® Panty Glossary


All the horror stories about untrained and unqualified nursing home workers who are misused and exploited by their employers had me prepared for the worst, but they proved untrue. Yes, some were better than others and yes, some complained about their working conditions, but as a whole the employees were capable of doing their job and seemed to be glad to be doing it.

An unusually large percentage of the workers were also attending school in order to move up the pecking order in the nursing home.

Almost all of the aides were already certified, but several housekeeping and food service workers were working toward aide certification. Aides were working toward certification as med techs or lab techs or licensed practical nurses. LPNs were working to become registered nurses and two-year RN’s were working toward bachelor’s degrees.

But almost none of them said they were working on advancement as a way to get out of nursing homes. While the rest of the medical world may look down on nursing home workers, many of the workers at this nursing facility said it is closer to the old-fashioned ideals of nursing that made them get into the field in the first place.


Tanga: A moderate to minimal coverage European panty silhouette with back coverage that is more than a thong but narrower than a bikini. Tangas are a comfortable way to transition from a bikini to a thong. –Bare Necessities® Panty Glossary  

I was checked and settled in by a nurse who had no visible panty lines–something I didn’t appreciate at the time, but soon came to realize had been very special. Of my generation–she may have been a little younger–her attire included a blouse buttoned to the neck and a covering smock. Even though she was wearing pants, I have to believe the old biddy nurses would have approved.

What put me in a nursing home was a staph infection that required intravenous antibiotic treatment every four hours. I had just spent about three weeks in the hospital with septic arthritis in my right knee complicated by pneumonia and, of course, the infection. The physical therapy department had taught me to get around with a walker, but I was not yet allowed to do so on my own.

I had come from the hospital with a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter, or PICC, hooked to a vein in my right arm. Six times a day a nurse came in and hooked me up to the antibiotics. Each treatment, in theory, took about half an hour. The vagaries if the IV pump and viscosity of the antibiotic IV fluid meant I was pretty much tied me to the bed for the duration of the treatment.

Additionally, four times a day—every six hours—a tech would give me a breathing treatment for asthma and the lingering effect of the pneumonia. This also took about half an hour.

Five days a week I also had physical therapy and occupational therapy–each an hour more or less. Add three meals a day in a dining facility and it’s obvious I had no long stretches of free time.


Boyshort: Boyshorts offer full coverage in a modern silhouette. Boyshorts are a perfect everyday alternative and offer comfortable coverage under clothing. A coulotte is a European version of a boyshort. –Bare Necessities® Panty Glossary  

The drastic difference between the attire of my initial nurse and her subsequently introduced aide not only set off my bottometer—which I didn’t know I had until then—it may have also calibrated it.

Just after I finished a late supper in my room (I’d missed meal time) the aide came in, announced it was my bath night, and said, “But I guess you don’t want a bath or shower yet.”

I disappointed her I could tell, but during those three weeks in the hospital I had only been allowed an occasional “whore’s bath” and was ready to pay any price for hot water, soap and shampoo.

As I said earlier, I was technically still wheelchair bound, so the trip to, and preparation for, the shower was somewhat complicated. Also, the PICC in my right arm had to be covered and waterproofed.

 The the rising and falling and pulling of her uniform (raising her arm bared her midriff, for example) during the pre and post shower procedures revealed—to my amazement and slight disgust—a taste for daringly low rise panties of hot pink lace. Continuing the theme of too much information, I also learned her left breast (ala Janis Joplin) had a tattoo of a heart; the right side of her chest was tattooed with a vine that spiraled around the breast several times before ending in a blossom on the aureole; a stylized floral motif of some kind was tattooed on the area above her pubic mound; and her right hip cheek had a tattoo of a cartoon character.

 Despite a haze made of fatigue, medication and hot steam my bottometer screamed. This is not the stuff on which dreams are made.

Hipster: A mid coverage panty, which is a moderately low rise cross between a bikini and a brief. Hipsters are a modern and comfortable take on the classic brief and are less bulky than a boyshort. Hipsters are virtually invisible under mid-rise pants. –Bare Necessities® Panty Glossary


Before breakfast the next morning a physical therapy tech came to evaluate me. I told her I could get around fine using the walker and then set about killing myself to prove it.

It worked. She put me in a category that said I could go (using the walker) without an escort to meals, activities, etc. I still had to have an escort to and from the shower, but not in it. It’s hard to describe how good this makes one feel.

Past bad experiences taught me how easy it is to loose range of motion, so I tend to attack physical therapy full force and them push my limits. If pain allowed (and I was more than adequately doped up) I’d add 10 repetitions to whatever the tech asked and always try to walk twice as far as expected.

Many of the routines involved counter pressure provided by the therapist or tech and the resulting twisting and turning for position meant there were times it felt like we were playing “Twister” or wrestling in slow motion.

During one of these awkward positions I realized the therapist was dripping sweat on me. Worse, I realized this meant I had undoubtedly been dripping sweat on her for quite some time. But we both politely ignored it and went on with the exercise.

After several weeks I progressed to using a cane—a degree of freedom that seemed unbelievable after being dependent on a walker for so long. I was even, very slowly, beginning to handle stairs. I began to believe the light a the end of the tunnel was not a train approaching a a high rate of speed.


G-String: A minimal coverage panty with string sides and back. Similar to a thong, some manufacturers use the terms interchangeably, but in general G-strings offer ultra minimal coverage. These tiny panties are virtually guaranteed to eliminate panty lines. –Bare Necessities® Panty Glossary


I’m not sure when my brain death began. It’s just something residents of nursing homes slip into. We did a lot of strength and rage-of-motion exercises for our upper and lower body, but no one was really looking out for our minds.

Sure, the aides dragged everyone they could to various activities. Get them out of their room and etc. But activities often meant little more than mindlessly staring at different walls.

My roommate watched television every waking hour he wasn’t eating or going through physical therapy. Fortunately for me he was deaf and watched it with the captions ion but the sound muted.

I read. As often the case when faced with short snatches of time to fill I read passages from “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey. I read it for comfort and inspiration. Abbey’s book is my “New Testament” I suppose—I carry it around as a companion. Through the years I have read it while hiking, camping, traveling, waiting. I keep copies of it in almost everywhere and have been know to force copies on friends and strangers.

“Has joy any survival value in the operations of evolution?” I read after randomly opening the book. “I suspect that it does; I suspect that the morose and fearful are doomed to quick extinction. Where there is no joy there can be no courage; and without courage all other virtues are useless. Therefore the frogs, the toads, keep on singing even though we know, if they don’t, that the sound of their uproar must surely be luring all the snakes and ringtail cats and kit foxes and coyotes and great horned owls toward the scene of their happiness.”

But Abbey began losing against the institutional soporific impress of the nursing home and I was approaching desperation when I pleaded with my son to dig out a copy of another nearly constant companion: “The Character of Physical Law” by Richard Feynman. Sure enough, he found a copy under the driver’s seat of my car (taking advantage of my confinement he was borrowing it—the car that is).

“The age in which we live is the age in which we are discovering the fundamental laws of nature, and that day will never come again,” Feynman wrote. “It is very exciting, it is marvelous, but this excitement will have to go. . .

“There will be a degeneration of ideas, just like the degeneration that great explorers feel is occurring when tourists begin moving in on a territory.”

Yes, but there will always be something new under the sun. Every answer launches a new line of questions.

“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” So goes Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Happy Thought.” Of course Stevenson also said, “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.”

Concerning quantum mechanics Feynman said: “I am going to tell you what nature behaves like. If you will simply admit that maybe she does behave like this, you will find her a delightful, entrancing thing. Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, ‘But how can it be like that?’ because you will get ‘down the drain’, into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.”

Paul Dirac said, “A physical theory must possess mathematical beauty.” One problem with Feynman is his beauty sometimes obscures his mathematics. Feynman makes things seem so logical we forget the underlying complexity—we think we understand more than we actually do because Feynman has made it seem so obvious.

Brain fuel for surviving IV therapy. For blacking out the fact the nurse’s underwear is so tight it has divided her bottom into what appear to be several balloons on the verge of explosion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Entropy must increase. But please, not yet.

Back to Abbey:

“Civilization is Jesus turning water into wine; culture is Christ walking on the waves;

“Civilization is a youth with a Molotov cocktail in his hand; culture is the Soviet tank ort the L.A. Cop that guns him down;

“Civilization is the wild river; culture 592,000 tons of cement;

“Civilization flows; culture thickens and coagulates, like tire, sick, stifled blood.”


Hi-Cut Brief: A moderate to full coverage panty with a very hi-cut leg. Some women find that hi-cut briefs offer a bit of tummy shaping. –Bare Necessities® Panty Glossary


When I was finally given my walking papers from the skilled nursing facility I faced one final hitch. The nursing facility rules said the PICC in my right arm could only be removed by a registered nurse. Unfortunately my wing didn’t have an RN on duty at the time. One would have to be brought in from another wing.

She was, of course, busy with patients on her own wing and then busy with patients on other wings who, for one reason or another, required the services of an RN. I ended up waiting—futilely—for several hours.

Then—at shift change—my LPN grabbed an incoming RN in the parking lot and convinced her to take care of me before she reported to her own wing.

The RN was very nice and seemed very professional, but when she bent over to remove the PICC the waist of her pants—inches from my nose—pulled down just enough to reveal a tattoo of a butterfly. Framed by the straps of her thong.

My bottometer told me I wasn’t leaving a moment too soon.

 White ladies pants
Upon the old clothesline;
Polka-dotted bloomers
Oh my gosh they’re mine!
Oh don’t you wish
That you could wear them too?
That will only happen
When the seat wears through.

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Brief thoughts on my recent confinement

Who would have thought women’s undergarment styles would become an obsession? Or that we have a bottometer? This is what happens up close and personal on the receivign end of skilled nuring care.

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Jul 24, 2009

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