But What About the Socks, Nancy?

Say what you want about a health care system that is on its last legs. Go ahead and criticize the Way Things Have Always Been and wonder at the magic that health care reform will bring. Yes, go ahead, but know what our government may be throwing away–something so precious and comforting and American.

Hospital socks.

After a late October outpatient surgery, I woke up in recovery all warm and toasty and drugged out of my mind. High as a kite, singing the praises of anesthesia and asking the attending nurse (too many times) if a tube had been down my throat, I had forgotten about the socks that I was given in pre-op. Beige and unattractive, they were of a utilitarian nature, with rubber streaks lining the bottom so that I wouldn’t later go skidding across the linoleum floor while pushing an IV pole and asking, “Has anyone seen my underwear?”

But what was most exciting was the news that I could wear them home! These socks were to be mine, all mine! Thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, I am bringing sexy back, one rubber-soled sock at a time.

I know -- the socks are awesome. So is this footstool that my uncle made for me when I was a toddler. He died in Vietnam when I was 3. Nobody is allowed to touch it, except me . . . and my awesome hospital socks, which (I've been told) I wear way too often.

I’ve looked over and over insurance statements and hospital bills to determine how much these exquisite socks cost me and my insurance carrier, but they are not included on the very limited itemized list. I am convinced that these socks are a perk of the private insurance industry. And I am not ashamed. Why should I be? My husband works hard to ensure we are insured.

Yet I am sad to report to you government health care policyholders of the future–and that may be all of us for all I know because I don’t understand health care reform any better than the rest of you and who am I to say this is the end of the world when Nancy Pelosi herself can’t even explain it–this could possibly be the end of the line for the hospital socks. I can’t predict what surgical patients will wear on their feet in the coming years, but I doubt we will be warmed in such style, in such comfort.

We who were grandfathered in to hospital footwear fashion will wear these relics with pride and dignity, recognizing that we had a good thing when we had it. Even if, at the time, we didn’t know (or care) what day it was.

Asked in an ABC interview Monday if she's the "most powerful woman in 100 years," Pelosi paused, then smiled, "That sounds good." (from New York Daily News) She then added, "I'm sorry. What was the question? I was thinking of the many provisions in the reform package and realized we left out 'socks'."

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