Dear Abby

DEAR READERS: Believe it or not, I'm still getting mail regarding the letters I printed about hospital gowns. Some of them gave me a chuckle, and I thought I'd share them with you. So pour yourselves a cup of coffee or tea, sit back, and as they say, "Bottoms up!"

DEAR ABBY: Your column about hospital gowns reminded me of an item that appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Green Sheet years ago.

"Did you know that hospital gowns come in three sizes?

"Short, shorter, and don't bend over!"

-- A. BEYERSDORF, MILWAUKEE

DEAR A.: No, but that sounds like good advice to me.

DEAR ABBY: After reading the letters about hospital gowns, I wondered if your readers know that the first hospital gown was designed by a man named Seymour Heiny. -- R. McA., JOHNSTOWN, PA.

DEAR R.: A true visionary.

DEAR ABBY: I am a nurse who works in intensive care. We have a saying where I work: "That's why they call it an I.C.U." -- KEN THE RN

DEAR KEN: And I'll bet you've seen more than your share.

DEAR ABBY: Twenty years ago, I was in the hospital going through a miscarriage, wearing a hospital gown. My roommate was a large woman who complained to the nurse that hers barely covered her. I told them we were wearing designer gowns. My roommate responded that it couldn't be true -- hers looked like a regular gown to her. I told her ours were made by "Jordass."

Once she stopping laughing, the nurse said she thought I'd emotionally and physically survive the miscarriage if I could make a joke at a time like that. Two years later, I became pregnant with my son, who's a high school senior this year. Even if you can't print this, I thought you would get a laugh from it. -- YOU CAN LAUGH OR YOU CAN CRY

DEAR YOU: I did -- and I want you to know I admire your strength in the face of adversity.

DEAR ABBY: Feel free to use all or part of this story from my latest book, "The Dog Ate My 'Things to Do' List -- What a Good Dog!" A brief history of the hospital gown:

"There is the straitjacket, the bullet-proof vest, the lead apron that wards off stray X-rays, and then there is the 'just put it on backward hospital gown.' Some say that Betty Barebottom invented this product. Betty, according to this account, wished to teach men two things. One: It isn't easy to wear a skirt and not expose your anatomy to a gawking world. Two: Men should understand how difficult it is to fasten things behind your back.

"Others claim that the designer of this impossible gown is a man named Seymour Butts. ... Although he considers the hospital gown the culmination of his life's work, Seymour currently works as a fashion designer. His line of unusual designs bears the label 'Butt First.'" -- DEAN CHAPMAN, CONCORD, CALIF.

DEAR DEAN: Whether Seymour's clothing line is famous or infamous is debatable, although no one can deny its popularity. The low-slung hip-hugger is "hot" from coast-to-coast regardless of the weather or the sex of the wearer. But that's another column.

P.S. Anyone interested in purchasing books by Mr. Chapman can get ordering information by contacting him: deanchap@aol.com.

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Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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