head covering in the hospital

Post by Melissa

I recently had surgery (all went well, it was for a long time injury, and i’m on the way to healing – b’h) and as I was laying in pre-op, I couldn’t help but think about my bare head.  I wish that I would have asked about wearing a tichel and leaving it on, or gotten a surgical cap to wear, or at the very least asked for the papery one they gave me right as they wheeled me back earlier in my time there.

While I recognize that it was for medical purposes and that Hashem will clearly forgive this oversights – I was uncomfortable.  I was very aware of my exposed head and hair.  However, in the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t even stop to think about the shortness of the sleeves of my hospital gown.

It has been a few weeks since this incident, and I keep thinking about it.  Whats done is done, but I wonder if I had to do it over, what would I do…..

So I ask you dear readers, what would you do? Have any of you had a similar experience?

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8 thoughts on “head covering in the hospital

  1. I probably would have asked for one of those surgical caps (like the one you mentioned), especially if the surgery was below my neck (and thus, the cap wouldn’t potentially get in the way). I don’t think it’s an unreasonable request, and if it makes you feel more comfortable, then it certainly should be honored (unless there’s a legitimate medical reason to why you should not be allowed to wear one).

    I don’t cover my hair on an everyday basis, so realistically, this wouldn’t be a problem for me. However, I completely understand that anxiety (whatever the cause might be) prevents healing, and if you’re focusing more on tznius and thus less on getting better, you will have a harder time healing. You should request that you be allowed to wear a head covering and long sleeves if you want them (all provided they do not interfere with the medical procedure).

    I don’t know what the halachic answer is, so maybe someone else who has more legal knowledge can give us that :).

    Refuah shelema!! 🙂

    • Since they put the surgical cap on before I went into surgery, I can’t imagine it would have been a problem to have had it on while waiting for the hour in pre-op.
      As the surgery was on my ankle, that definitely didn’t interfere! Actually, I even went out and bought some flowy skirts (which are not my typical style) to ensure more tzniut while unable to bear weight for 3+ weeks. So I hear you loud and clear on reducing the anxiety to focus on healing.
      Oh, and I would love a halachic answer. D’s response was that since it was for a medical procedure, it was seemingly ok, but he’ll be the first to admit he is not even close to being a halachic authority yet.
      Thanks! 🙂

  2. Since starting to cover more regularly, I’ve found myself in this kind of situation on occasion. I think the thing that I always think about – the first time, you felt uncomfortable and you realized it. Now, the next time you might be in that kind of situation (hopefully something more positive like childbirth, im yirtzeh hashem, ptu ptu ptu) you’ll have a plan beforehand. I think it’s partially a side effect of not having a lot of “real life” people around you that cover all the time, and not having a family tradition of it. You have to learn as you go. 🙂

  3. I am not married, so the head covering is not an issue for me at this point in time. However, I can share my experience with the sleeve/hospital gown issue. I have spent a fair amount of time in the hospital recently (for tests of varying natures) and while I wore the hospital gown I was instructed to wear at first, I told my nurses that I did not feel comfortable with just that on and would be wearing my own clothes as well. So what I did was put on a long sleeve knit t-shirt underneath the hospital gown and my own pajama pants (i don’t always wear skirts, haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m sure they wouldn’t have objected). The only concern the staff had was that the heart monitor I was connected to would be able to remain attached to me with my own clothing on, and that my IV would not be disturbed. I didn’t have a problem with this because I told them ahead of time and was able to change before they put in the IV. I know that surgery is a whole different ball game, of course, but the principle is still the same. Honestly I think that most hospital staff are sensitive to the different needs of their patients and if you simply explain to them that you feel more comfortable with your head covered or whatever, then they will be happy to accommodate you.

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