It is remarkable how quickly a patient's self esteem evaporates in hospital: his pride is immediately and unceremoniously lopped off like an ingrown toenail; his dignity is burned away as if it were nothing but a troublesome boil; and then, bereft of both body hair and normal clothes, he is displayed on an adjustable bed for medical study and diagnoses. Any casual observer might conclude that the patient resembles a plucked turkey of the scrawniest kind, basted in antiseptic and wrapped in a sort of Amish drag queen smock.
Then there are the interminable examinations: scheduled pokings and proddings into orifices formerly sacrosanct; and repeated interrogations and pointed questions concerning the movement of the patient's bowels, always conducted with an arched medical eyebrow, as if the patient were a disreputable snitch filing false information on the whereabouts of a gang of crooks.
Under such conditions it is no surprise that the patient loses all his inhibitions. He no longer cares to prevent it all from hanging out. There are prostitutes advertising their wares in the windows of Dutch brothels who are more modest. The patient will agree to any outrage, no matter how absurd it may seem. Personally, if the nurses had told me that it was necessary to undergo heart surgery clad in a child's SpongeBob SquarePants costume I would have silently acquiesced. After all, one's mind begins to retreat into immaturity when someone else must wipe one's backside.