Part of the dehumanization and aggravation of being a patient is that things we take for granted –like wearing our own clothes– fall by the wayside. Hospital gowns are notoriously unpleasant and I’ve seen people do all sorts of things –like wearing two gowns or bringing their own bathrobe– to try to make things a little better. On the other hand, there’s something to be said in defense of hospital gowns: namely, do you really want to get blood and other nasty stuff all over your own clothes after surgery?
Once you leave the hospital, though, it’s another matter. Patients often resort to wearing baggy sweatpants and tearing holes in existing clothing to accommodate knee braces, wounds, catheters, etc. or just for ease of dressing and undressing. I have a friend whose elderly father basically refuses to wear pants in the home because he can’t stand what’s available. He’s also hesitant to venture out because he’s embarrassed at how he looks.
So I was intrigued to learn about Cooper Martin, a maker of “high-style, high-performance products for the health care and recovery industry.” They let me try a remarkable pair of khaki pants that look and feel similar to the ones from Brooks Brothers that I usually wear. They are made of a nice, organic cotton, have pleats, deep pockets in the front and back welt pockets. But that’s where the similarity ends. The pants have what Cooper Martin calls “Active Recovery Technology,” which includes hidden zippers on the outside of both legs so that the whole pant leg can come open. There’s velcro at the bottom of each leg, and a loop of PVC rubber at the end of each zipper to keep them from slipping.
The waistband has velcro that covers the zippers along with a snap in the front that’s easy to fasten and unfasten but that is hidden from view. Other hidden zippers start near the crotch and zip down below the knee for easy access.
I showed these pants around to several friends, including doctors, nurses and former patients. Most were enthusiastic; they especially though the pants would be useful for those recovering from hip or knee surgery who would need clothing like this for an extended period of time.
Here are some photos:
September 4, 2009