One minute I'm a hip and stylin' motherfucker, the next, I am tentative and insecure, wearing a flimsy, faded aquamarine hospital gown tied haphazardly together. I mean, does anybody know which way a hospital gown is supposed to go on? Does it go on backwards, like a straight-jacket or forward, like a shirt? And how are you supposed to keep it together when the goddamn ties randomly hang from odd places?
I guess a hospital gown is designed for easy access. I'm surprised that no one's thought of including it in their Spring Collection. I can see Donatella Versace accessorizing one with chandelier earrings, a coordinating sash and stilleto heels. Yikes.
When I was at the hospital, it seemed that patients lost all sense of modesty. I saw flesh carelessly exposed, no attempt made to cover up hair or hide. I felt pretty much the same way. When you have strangers randomly touching you, taking your temperature, sticking you with needles, it’s hard to hold on to modesty. How could you? Besides, peeing into a bedpan has got to be the most undignified thing in the world, except maybe for being Carrot Top's mom.
I remember that when the time came to take the catheter off my dick, I pulled up my gown and let the nurse pull it out as if exposing my genitals was a commonplace occurrence--usually I only exposed myself to children.* She pulled the tube out of my dick quite Zorro-like--with one quick snap.
For the uninitiated, a catheter is a ¼" thick tube attached to a urine collection bag which is inserted eight inches into your penis through the urethra. Yes, I was flabbergasted too. I thought I was at least twelve inches long.
Last week, I went back for some follow-up tests. The doctors were not able to determine what caused the bowel obstruction in my intestines. That's probably because I refused to let them use scopes to poke through my ass when their dicks could have served nicely.
The nurse handed me a folded gown, soft, like your favorite bed sheets and nudged me gently towards the locker room. There was another guy, quite cute really, looking like a swarthier Colin Farrell who was in the locker room with me. We smiled nervously at each other as we emerged from the little changing stalls. We looked ridiculous in our gowns with dress shoes and dark socks hanging loosely around the ankles.
Already our inhibitions were leaving us. He didn't care that his gown allowed a small peek of his tight, hairy buns as he walked out ahead of me. I didn't care that the thin cloth at the lower region of my gown was starting to reveal my 'true feelings' for him.
The next hour I spent being herded from one x-ray room to another. I shuffled behind each nurse, mind devoid of thought. If I'd let myself think about my situation, I would have been scared of why I was there in the first place. That we were looking for what Ah-nuld the Governator called a 'toomah'.
Shit. I can't even say it seriously. A tumor. No, that's too scary, too real. It's not a toomah, not a toomah, not a toomah...
At some point, after they had completed all the tests, I was sent back to the locker room. Colin Farrell was there too. Like me, he looked exhausted even though we had not been tasked to do anything more taxing than lie still on a cold metal slab or hold our breath as controlled bursts of x-rays filtered through our rigid frames. We silently put our clothes back on. This time, we did not meet each other's eyes.
Yesterday, I got a call from my doctor. The results show that there is no evidence of anything unusual. No tumors. No cancer. He was issuing me a clean bill of health. I breathed a sigh of relief. It was hard pretending I was not worried. I was in-between botox shots.
In retrospect, privacy--physical modesty--is something that I shed so quickly in the face of fear. I don't know what to think about that. It's like somehow I became a slab of beef with all the dignity of one, pushed and prodded, devoid of personality.
It's a scary thought.
* calm down, I was JUST KIDDING.
Read about my stay at the hospital:
Hospital Gift Shop
Shiny Happy People in designer hospital gowns
More Hide: Gratuitous Tattooed Butt Shot
More Colin Farrell here and here
Mr and Mrs Carrot Top
We Love Ah-nuld!
Bodybuilder, Actor and Politician Arnold quotes