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I suppose we must look for humor where this is none. For me lately, it has been about hospital gowns. As most of you know, I am undergoing radiation treatment after a breast cancer lumpectomy last May. It has been a whirlwind of MRI’s, CT scans, and other appointments, and in nearly all of them, I have had to wear some type of hospital covering. I say “covering,” because not all of the coverings are actual cloth gowns; and many could not even really be called “gowns,” either. So, to pass the time, I came up with a classification system of hospital attire. Bear with me, and laugh with me.
The Perfect Gown (which does not exist)
This gown is the color of your choice. Do you want a perky, cheerful color, like coral or chartreuse? Take your pick. The gown immediately sizes itself to your unique body shape. It is a wrap-around that has a sassy little tie on the side and Velcro on the top for modesty. Because it is multi-layered, it won’t gap open unexpectedly while walking down the hall. The fabric of this gown is silky soft and warm, and is so comfortable, you wouldn’t mind wearing it for the rest of the day. Unlike the other gowns that are usually available…
The Drab Depresser
Faded and cheerless, this gown looks like it’s been through way too many washings. It is a sad, pale blue, with a confusing diamond-like pattern that, at one time, may have been quite fetching. Its current ashen color does not help lift your spirits, however. While it is soft to the touch and feels nice against your skin, you look down and realize there are worn patches in the fabric that you hadn’t noticed previously. Those thin places are indications this gown has been well-worn and loved, but it might be best to find a newer, less-used model.
No matter how tightly you tie the little neck and side straps, this gown will not close in the back, resulting in a constant breeze wafting down your back as you walk down the hall. You try holding the gap closed, but you can’t reach back enough and soon, your arm falls asleep. Be sure to wear your best-fitting and cleanest underwear when wearing this model, because many people will be viewing it inadvertently.
The Automatic De-tie
You have high hopes as you put this gown on, as it looks fairly new. Its pattern is brightly-colored green boxes. You slip it on and tie it at the neck and side as usual, but as you open the screen to leave the dressing room, you look down and realize you are experiencing a “wardrobe malfunction” no less dramatic than that of Janet Jackson at Super Bowl 38 in 2004. You rush back into the dressing room, hastily re-tying the neck ties more tightly. Looking in the mirror, you give yourself a satisfied nod and try to leave again. This time, the side tie drifts open, and you realize those undies weren’t your most modest choice for the day (of which everyone is getting a good view). No matter how tightly you or the nurses tie it, this model is simply not having it.
The Gia-normous Wrapper
As you swaddle yourself in this model, you realize something is amiss. There is more hospital gown than there is body. Furthermore, there is a confusing array of snaps all along the neckline down the sleeves. You pause, knowing you should be smart enough to determine the use of these snaps; you really, really think; you shrug and give up. You put it on anyway, as it makes you feel thin for the day, which isn’t a bad thing.
The Paper “Why Bother”?
This covering, as it can’t really be classified as a gown, is like a paper-towel vest. The pattern for it must have been cut during the 80’s, as its wing-like shoulders look like something Grace Jones would have worn in a low-budget music video. You put it on so the opening is in the front, but unless you hold it closed, it’s pretty much open to the world. Luckily, you don’t wear it for long, and not when walking down the hospital hallway.
The Luscious Mammogram Cape
You could imagine yourself wearing this to a cocktail party some time (perhaps not?). This mammogram cape wraps around the shoulders and hangs loosely around the upper body. There is usually some type of neck closure, but it covers you discreetly. The most wonderful thing about this hospital attire? It is warm and snuggly. The one consistent thing I’ve noticed about nearly every hospital and medical facility I’ve been in is that they are notoriously COLD. This cape isn’t thin cotton; it is like wrapping yourself in a plush hug. If only there were full body versions of this!
Have I missed any? Be sure to notify me if so, and write a detailed description of a hospital gown you have encountered. Thank you again for joining me on this journey, and for continuing to bolster my spirits.
From Hillary Scott’s “Still”:
You’re parting waters
Making a way for me
You’re moving mountains that I don’t even see
You’ve answered my prayer before I even speak
All You need for me to be is still