Down the hall came Herman. A nurse was encouraging his every step. With a heart condition and two new hips, he well knew the routine of taking two laps around the nurses’ station. His reward would be just as Nurse Raunch would say to her horse: “Well done! Good for you!” She had a horse, you know. Her way of leading patients around gave it away. She was probably used to mucking stalls, too, because she certainly had no problem dumping bedpans and measuring elimination. In fact, she was more than comfortable with the body - Herman’s body - not her own. So, here came Herman with his hospital johnnie flapping. The ridiculous one edged with pink bias tape. “Well done! Now, back to your stall...er...bed,” she exclaimed. “Let’s get you a fresh johnnie.” “Yes, let’s,” thought Herman. “Let’s get one that attempts to cover my ass.”
Hospital johnnies are a whole different ball game than normal sleepwear. Through the years I’ve thought about how our neighborhood would look if we had to evacuate our homes in a hurry at 2:35 AM. Likely, we would either look naked, disgusting, or possibly both. One night, while in a hotel, the fire alarm sounded. One son had the presence of mind to pull his pants on. All I could think was, “Just get the kids out.” After wandering around the parking lot looking for flames, the guests assembled in the lobby. I was relatively covered as long as I kept my arms folded “hrumph” style over my chest. One man had only his skivvies on. That night I learned, no matter how a guy points his toes or bends his knees, his skivvies don’t cover much. Nuf sed. Imagine if we had all been in johnnies.
George Carlin once said, “Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do ‘practice’?”
When asked, “What’s the difference between an oral thermometer and a rectal thermometer?” the nurse replied, “The taste.”
From OR #8, we heard shouting, “Rex! Rex! Come back with that! Bad dog!”
A hospital johnnie is like an insurance policy. You never have enough coverage.
A gown is defined as “a long dress, typically having a close-fitting bodice and a flared or flowing skirt, worn on formal occasions.” Isn’t that a hoot? The only time I ever saw a “close-fitting bodice” was when a lady, who was being assisted out of her wheelchair, had the corner of her hospital “gown” caught under the front left wheel. I looked away. Try as you may, it’s difficult to look formal in a johnnie. Another definition is “a distinctive outer robe worn on ceremonial occasions, as by scholars or clerics.” I understand the scholarly part. When you’re in a hospital, you learn things - about stool softeners and foleys. For the last twelve years, I thought the Foleys were my neighbors. Apparently, in NYC, there is a pub called “Foley’s.” It’s probably close to a hospital. I wouldn’t trust any light beers there. About the cleric part, I’ve heard some religious words in hospital corridors and they weren’t “Holey Kimono!”
Maybe you know a guy by the name of John. When he was little, you called him Johnnie. If he turned out to be an influential person-of-interest, while in a crowd, you may offhandedly call him Johnnie as an indication that you two go way back and you knew him before he was “somebody.” My reasoning tells me that johnnies are called johnnies to evoke a feeling of familiarity and trust. Everyone is supposed to want a johnnie. No one does.
We have johnnies that you’re gonna wanna be friends with.