Gowning around

Posted on September 2nd, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

I was reminded today how significant the humble hospital gown is. Its power is amazing.

There are two kinds of gowns I am familiar with. One has three arm holes in it – yes, three, and yes, arms. I am not sure how many other people have embarrassed themselves trying to squeeze their head through the middle arm hole, wrestling about half-naked in a change room with the flimsy floral curtain does little to contain the frantic gasping breaths that accompany claustrophobia. But I know a friend of mine has. Um, then there is the other kind of gown – the one that if you do happen to put it on back-to-front you get to the lowest and final tie before thinking, “Hang on, that can’t be right! Surely?” It happened to another friend of mine.


There are few things in this world that have the power to annul social standing, economic welfare, education achievements, professional accolades or culture affiliation. The hospital gown, with it’s mysterious powers, seems to achieve such disarmament with incredible ease.

After many frustrations experiencing what a hospital gown allows to be revealed to the world, I think it is not recognised enough for what it can hide.

Day-surgery patients, whose conversations rarely get to the next level of conversation after hospital food and the weather, may be in conversation with others they would never know how to relate to in the real world. Every attempt to identify yourself in society has been left behind.

You can’t even vary your garment. You can’t roll up your sleeves to say you’re relaxed at the end of a day, you can’t unbutton your shirt to say you loved the 70′s, you can’t roll your skirt up to show off your legs. It is how it is. You become refreshingly un-categorical. People’s response to you then has to rely on your countenance and the words that you speak. You come away feeling more connected with people than you expected, and all without having to present your identity through what is worn or adorned.

Such is the power of the hospital gown.



Comment on September 3rd, 2008.

gday cam

its amazing to see you still positive and looking at the deeper picture this far in. not that im much of the prayin sort anymore, whenever i think of what you’re goin through i take five to do so.

keep powerin through mate. uppards n onnards boss.

yr 7, mundaring christian, 2000.


Comment on September 3rd, 2008.

Everyone loves a good hospital gown. Maybe we should have a week each year in Australia where we all wear hospital gowns. Dunno, just an idea! Sent a shout out to you on my site.


Comment on September 3rd, 2008.

Rat, thanks man, appreciate your thinking of us. I drove through Koji a couple of weeks back and thought of you and the fam. Please pass on my regards! I’ll get my act together and chase up Uncle Ben. Cheers J.

That idea Maria is brilliant. I have been thinking on it ever since! Thanks for your post on your website too. I will think more on the gown day/week idea and see where it goes!



Comment on September 3rd, 2008.

I put mine on backwards! I am proud to show off my “Brazilian wax” which I got FREE OF CHARGE, thanks to Chemo!

Rob L

Comment on September 3rd, 2008.

What do hospital gowns have in common with airports?

They’re both open 24hrs a day.


Comment on September 4th, 2008.

School uniforms do some the same things in regard to social standing and providing an even playing field. The difference is that school uniforms do not expose.

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