When the Hospital Gown Doesn’t Fit

Has it ever happened to you? You’re in the doctor’s office or getting an x-ray and you can’t find a gown that fits right?

One day I was at a doctor’s appointment with my two year old daughter. The doctor ordered a knee x-ray, but I had jeans on. A nurse came in with some XL shorts to put on so I could walk down the hallway to the x-ray room. Seems simple enough, right?

The fact is, for some people, XL simply won’t work. For many years I have struggled with my weight. This isn’t a measly 30 pounds or so. Think “top-of-the-BMI” charts super morbid obesity. No matter how much I tugged, the shorts would not fit.

hospitalgown

We try again

I’ll go find a gown instead,” the nurse said as she left the room.

When she walked in with a regular gown a few minutes later, I sent her out again to look for a large sized one.

She was gone for what felt like a long time. In reality, it was probably 5 minutes. But it was long enough for my mind to track down it’s familiar paths of self-hatred. While nothing was spoken out loud, my head was filled with,

I am so embarrassed. This is ridiculous. How can I be so stupid to let myself get this fat again? I hate this. I’m so gross.”

Finally, the nurse returned. After a thorough search, she had not been able to find a large gown. Instead, she returned with another regular sized gown and suggested that I put one on front and one on my back. It was hot and stuffy in the office. I managed to get both gowns on, but they were painfully pinching my upper arms, and my rear STILL wasn’t covered!

Third attempt

Feeling terribly uncomfortable and annoyed, I rigged up a solution. I put the first gown (barely) on the normal way, leaving several snaps undone. I put my t-shirt back on over that, and then tied the other gown around my waist, so it covered my lower half. At last there was a way to walk down the hallway without improper exposure.

By this time I was red-faced, irritable, and the inner thoughts, rambled on full of self-loathing and disgust.

Ugh. I’m so gross. I’m so fat and ugly. This is hopeless.”

Initially, my two year old curly-haired daughter had been quietly looking at board books. I was so absorbed in trying to get covered, that I nearly forgot she was in the room. Turning around once more to make sure I was fully covered, I was startled to see her big blue eyes looking up at me in awe.

MOMMY?” she squealed.

Mommy!” she said again, in a hushed, serious tone,

You wook wike a pwincess!”

Tears filled my eyes. Her words were such a contrast to what had been going on in my mind. The room was quiet and suddenly my thoughts were halted. It was a gift from God, her speaking to me that day.

Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you. 1

I no longer cared that the hospital gown didn’t fit. I only knew I was loved. Yes, loved by this darling toddler. But also loved by my heavenly Father, who didn’t want me to keep talking to myself negatively.

It’s true that I am overweight. I have sinned so many times with overeating the food God has blessed me with. But the reality is that I also have a loving, amazing, forgiving Heavenly Father who calls me His child. My 2-year old was correct.

Royal Daughters Come in All Sizes

I am a princess. His princess. He looks at me through the blood of Christ, who suffered and died on my behalf. ALL of those sins have been forgiven. Even the many, many times I have run to food instead of Him.

My ambition is to feast on the love that He has for me. His grace is the only motivation that will make me long to eat and drink and do all things for His glory.2

Four years have passed since that episode with my daughter. Occasionally those thoughts still crop up in my mind, but it has become less and less. I am staking all my hopes in Christ; I am basking in the love He has for me. My weight struggles continue but I have hope that I will be able to win this battle. Thankfully, the war has already been won.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.3

By His grace progress has been made, and will continue.

1Jeremiah 31:3b (AMP)

2I Corinthians 10:31

3Psalm 34:6 (ESV)

Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

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26 thoughts on “When the Hospital Gown Doesn’t Fit

  1. This was such a honest and raw post. You are beautiful!! We have such a responsibility to leave our children understanding that they are beautiful as God made them and it starts with us believing that about ourselves. Thank you for sharing this.

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  2. I’m so thankful God never gives up on us, aren’t you? He is ready and able to forgive and pick us back up while we are so hard on ourselves and feel unworthy of forgiveness. And we are unworthy, but He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love”! Praise God!
    I’m glad your little girl was with you to remind you that you are a princess in God’s eyes. He is no respecter of persons!
    Thank you for sharing your heart on Grace and Truth today!

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  3. Thank you Myrna! I might go to Breathe this year…would like to! Went to Maranatha in 2013 & loved it. Also go to Word Weaver meetings, but don’t often make it to the large group gathering. I have heard of Dukan—haven’t looked into it, but google tells me it is low-carb, and over the years I’ve learned that I do the best when I avoid sugar and emphasize low carbs/low glycemic index. I’m trying to make small, deliberate, sustainable changes that will remain with me in the years ahead—even when I reach the goal.

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  4. Karen you were extremely brave to write this story and you should keep writing, you have a lot of talent. Will you be going to a writing conference in Michigan soon? I’m not sure where you live. I would love to meet you in person. Have you looked into the Dukan diet? Don’t do the coaching on line just buy the book for $20 and follow it to the tee. It is very easy but takes a lot of discipline but really works! My husband and I both lost a lot of weight. If you follow the maintenance you really do keep it off. I know you’re probably not looking for dieting ideas here…. sorry but I was so amazed by Dukan and tell everyone I can.

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  5. Dear Karen,
    I love the transparency you have,which leaves no doubt how we need to pray. I pray for you in my daily devotion time because I know how hard your struggle is,and you let us know you would be trusting God as you work at this battle. And about your hospital gown story…..I have thought every time I had to use one off those things in the drs. office and grasped the front tightly so as to have some kind of decency…maybe we should construct and patent them so they will fit…you know, until we have reached the smaller size! 🙂 You DO have a gift for writing! Keep on keeping on! 🙂 Our flesh may fail,but God gives us strength……Ps.73:26

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    • I sure do appreciate those prayers. Yes, it would be lovely to have size-friendly gowns! I have had some—but then they are actually so huge I sometimes swim in them—at least in my shoulders. lol I am thankful for your encouraging words.

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  6. I have had weight struggles for years. Type 2 diabetes forced me to learn how to count carbs which resulted in a good bit of weight lost. I’m still not taking any meds. My biggest struggle it my perception of myself, for which my girls rebuke me regularly. Unfortunately, I have passed that critical spirit on the them!! Now they are fighting their own self-image! Ugh! And the most one of them (4) is 135!! Menopause is doing a number on them! God bless that precious Greta for her perception of her beautiful mommy!! We are princesses in Jesus’ eyes!! And you have a loving husband that supports you and treasures you! So much for which to thank God!!!

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    • Bonnie—that is in my heart—that I don’t pass that critical spirit to my daughter. I catch myself saying things sometimes! My husband will tell me straight out if he catches me talking that way about myself. I think it’s awesome you’ve been able to manage without taking meds. I haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes (thankfully). I know I am high risk for it. I also watch carbs and try to get in more protein and eat low-glycemic. Thank you for commenting. 🙂

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  7. I loved this! To feel treasured and loved by our Heavenly Father is a treasure beyond measure! I need to make a habit of committing scripture to memory more often so that at times when I most need it, I have it stored in my mind!

    I had struggled with weight for 26 years and last year I finally took a huge step and had a weight loss surgery called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. It has changed my life! I have lost almost 100 pounds and feel so much better physically and psychologically! I highly recommend it! I have a seven year old that I need to be around for for many more years!
    Good luck on your journey!

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  8. You are strong and beautiful, Karen, and you have the most important tools and motivation to reach your goal — your faith and your family. God teaches us so much in our struggles. This was touching and painful to read, but inspiring. A bittersweet memory. I love how God told His princess that she is precious through the loving words of your little one.

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  9. Karen, you continue to inspire me from the time I met you years ago to this very day. Your honesty and transparency is one of your most precious gifts to me and it will continue to inspire others to be their very best for Jesus. God has blessed you with amazing talent to write and I am so happy we have reconnected on Facebook and I can join you in this journey. Blessings and Prayers…

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  10. I struggle with the same sin that you do. I don’t eat for the glory of God but for my own pleasure. We are so blessed to have a God who continues to love us and forgive us even when we disobey Him.

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    • His grace is limitless! If we can just remember and keep trusting. It is so much a mind battle for me these days. I first wrote this story a couple of years ago—but just came back and re-wrote and added dialogue and pictures. I needed to hear it again myself. 🙂

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  11. When I weighed 430 pounds even the supersize gowns they had didn’t fit me! It was embarrassing.Recently I went for a mammogram and all they had were supersize gowns and the nurse profusely apologized for not having smaller gowns. It went around me twice. Keep going, Princess you’ll get there. But the gown still may not fit and this can be a good thing!

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  12. I’m sorry you struggle with weight but I’m also very glad that you were brave enough to tell this story. I’m also glad that you know that you are a gem to the Lord and the apple of His eye. We all have our comforts and addictions when we should run to Jesus.

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    • Thank you Myrna. I think we all have a “thorn in the flesh” that causes us to crawl to God over, and over. This happens to be mine. I’m getting braver and braver with this story, but it has really spurred me on as well. 🙂

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  13. Beautifully written. I too want to be intentional about keeping the scriptures intertwined with my own thoughts and in the end hopefully that shines through the most. I also thought of “He shall rejoice over you with singing”.

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