game of gowns

by myjaundicedeye


MJE is between doc gigs at the moment but wants to keep in touch so as not to lose your interest and have you defect to some other (inferior) blog on which to waste your time. So today’s topic is examination room “gowns.” First off whoever gave them that euphemistic moniker has obviously never seen any of the Disney princess movies. But by now, having spent a fair amount of time of late wearing said “gowns” I’ve developed a keen eye for quality. I can look at the gown laying on the examination table, and like Martha Stewart nailing a sheet’s thread count across a basketball court, gauge the quality before my six shooters get through the door.

The Cadillac of gowns are old school, 100% cotton, and washed to the softness of a baby blanket. They’re festooned with bunny rabbits, kittens or some other imagery completely at odds with its function as a patient’s fig leaf. From there it’s a brisk plunge into the Filene’s basement of gowns: paper ware (or paper wear). But even in this decidedly down market area there are distinct differences in type and quality. Obviously, the heavier the paper the better, but size and fit are also important. And the range of both, as I have found, is vast. I am sure there is some medical office bean counter somewhere telling doctors that if they just reduce the dimensions and heft of their exam gowns their profit margins will explode, perhaps even offsetting the bank breaking burdens of Obamacare.

The top tier of this genre are akin to paper towels, soft, pliable and provide the illusion of comfort. They are long enough to cover even the areas of the body that the doctor doesn’t need to examine. They afford the patient a certain false sense of modesty from the prying eyes and probing digits of whoever happens to be walking by at the moment. From there it is a downward spiral to ever lighter weight paper and shorter hemlines. The absolute bottom of the barrel is what I call the Bolero, thin as toilet paper and so small that it wouldn’t cover an anorexic. It has the added disadvantage of a certain self-cling factor which requires incredible dexterity on the part of the patient to pry it apart without tearing it to shreds.

To date, Dr. Cha Cha Chahin’s gown is the absolute worst. Not only did it offer the smallest square footage but was so thin it made Charmin look like cashmere. When I did manage to disentangle it (which is always a frantic race against the clock from the moment you are left to disrobe to when the door flies open again) and figured out top from bottom, front from back and where my arms were to go I was so frazzled that I yanked it on a bit too vigorously and it split in half right down the back. Dr. Cha Cha returned to find MJE slumped on the table covered by nothing but two disconnected pink paper sleeves.