The hospital gown is medicine’s equalizer.
No matter the wearer…
overweight, cellulitic diabetics
tachypneic pregnant women puffing forth new life
wide-eyed children breathing through an anesthesia mask…
all rendered into one
shapeless, ill-fitting smock.
preserved by the garment of flimsy, patterned fabric,
sometimes by two in those with posteriors left bare by one stingy cloth.
shuffling in tread-treated socks
clinging to an IV pole for stability with one hand
gathering up the ample folds yawning apart at the seams in the other,
while scooting onto a stretcher en route to surgery.
Those too weak remain in bed
listlessly lying amid a tussle of sheets, blankets, of which the hospital gown becomes one of many layers.
The seemingly healthy defy this aura of illness,
but even the most robust bodybuilder’s biceps seem a little more attenuated...