My friend Mehran wished me luck before my operation. The usual thinking of you, praying for you, sentiments. He also requested that I do something about hospital gowns. You know what I am talking about, those things we have to wear that are backwards. Your front is covered, but your tush is exposed for all the world to see. I can see why Mehran is aghast at having his tush exposed. To be truthful, we are all aghast at that thought.

Hospitals must have millions of these things lying around. They are ubiquitous. I am put in one at just about every occasion. CT Scan? Wear one of these, keep your underwear, socks and shoes on. What a fashionable you make walking around it that outfit. You look a bit like Napoleon, one hand behind your back making sure your tush is not exposed. They are concerned with your dignity, and suggest you take a seat while you wait. They have these chairs covered in vinyl and expect me to share my more or less exposed tush with the germs that are likely infesting the seats. PlasticĀ  is a great host for germs who multiply to their hearts content, feasting endlessly on whatever nutrients are available for them. I prefer to pace, thank you very much. And pace I did, regal in stature.

Parents have for years exhorted their children to wear clean underwear, just in case you get hit by a bus and get rushed to hospital. Nothing more embarrassing than dirty underwear while you are lying helpless in the emergency room. This is troubling on several levels. Why would our parents put the fear of death or maiming in our heads at such a young age? Why would I want to ruin a pair of clean underwear if I am involved in such a severe accident? I surely want to wear a dirty filthy pair if all the hospital is going to do is cut them off my prone and helpless body! But who wants to wear dirty underwear on the off chance that you might get hit by a bus?

But I digress. Hospital gowns.

I was in hospital for 10 days wearing one of those gowns. We became intimate as it were. They are truly versatile objects. They allow the staff, doctors and nurses alike, to reveal any part of the body in a matter of seconds, while maintaining your dignity by covering other parts. I noticed they were particularly eager to cover your groin area. I thought at the time that this was very thoughtful of them, maintaining your dignity. I wonder now whether they were not protecting themselves at having to look at yet another example of a man’s shortcomings (I stole that thought from David Niven). They are saved from looking at a very limp and ineffective example of one’s manhood. That is all the poor nurse needs to see – again. I have to assume now, that they were busy protecting their own dignity.

The before surgery procedure required the shaving of the hair on my stomach, where the incisions were to take place. The hair had to be shaved right down to the pubic area. Don’t you know it, the nurse made sure that most of the groin are was covered revealing only the required amount of pubic hair that was then shaved. Who coined the word pubic? For the longest time I kept thinking it was public, which was most confusing. Private area but public hair. Say what? I have visions of these bored scientists coming up with the word pubic just to see how many of us would get confused. Cruel.

You lie in the bed after surgery, hardly able to talk, let alone defend yourself. Nurses are busy revealing and hiding parts of your body proving over and over again that the gowns are indeed versatile and worth every measly penny of our tax dollars that has been spent purchasing and maintaining these. Sorry Mehran, these things are here to stay.

The nurses in the hospital provide you with two gowns. The first one exposes your back, but the second is put on backwards covering your precious derriere from all eyes. You walk around in your two gowns, remembering to remove the second one before getting back into bed. The last thing you need is to struggle with two gowns in a bed. These gowns are huge. They are a one-size-fits-all design. You could weigh 90lb (40kg) or 300lb (140kg), and you are given the same size gown. Not like they go around sizing you up or anything. (By the way, does anyone know why the symbol for pound is lb. Liquid ballast?). I went into the hospital weighing around 170lb (77kg) and cam out at 155lb (70kg). Losing 15lb is much more impressive than losing 7kg. I am now back to the 170lb mark. The one-size-fits-all is perfect for such occasions.

The unfortunate thing is this. The solution to the bare is simple and easy to implement. It might even save hospitals money from reduced laundry costs, and from not having to purchase new gowns for a while since they can stop double gowning their patients. I wish I could patent this, but that is not to be.

All the hospitals have to do is put two ties on their gowns, very much the way dressing gowns are designed. The first is attached to the edge of, say the left side of the gown. he second is attached to a location that would be close to the side of the body around waist high. All the patient would do is tie these to each other covering their tush.

I am such a genius.

2 Responses to “Hospital Gowns”

  1. well this posting is a relief. when I saw the topic, I gasped, oh no Farokh is in the hospital. glad to know that is not the case. and to read in last night's comment by Nancy that you had a good dr's appointment yesterday.

  2. Interesting coincidence as Mehran (of the hospital gown phobia) has been editing a book which might have gone to print with the following line:

    “Alister married a school principal who quietly supported his energetic pubic life which was often carried into his home…”

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