Code Brown, not Nearly as Exciting, but Often More Enlightening than the Blue Variety

How much poop can an old man poop if an old man hasn’t pooped in a week?

A buttload.

It was inevitable, don’t you think. I am after all, a floor nurse. Many of my patients have had bowel surgeries, or are attempting to avoid them. How long could I have possibly gone without writing at least one post about poop?

In  my experiences as a nurse I have had the pleasure, and sometimes disappointment, of dealing with a wide range of characters. I have learned to appreciate the wisdom and wit of little old men. I have learned to understand the bitterness of lonely old women. I have been inspired by the courage of patients younger than I who have faced debilitating diseases and injuries, especially those involving their digestive tract.

Its unfortunate, but the simple fact of the matter is that everybody has to poop, and fairly regularly to avoid problems. If you poop too little, there is a problem. If you poop too much, there is a problem. Pooping is a very sensitive, and necessary part of daily lives that many take for granted.

Imagine, if you will, that you are 20. You’re a beautiful, thin, intelligent, witty young woman in college. You aspire to transfer to a university across state lines, but you are afraid to. Only, you are  not afraid of the reasons one might expect such as missing your family, friends, being in a new place, financial strains, and the pressure of educational requirements. You are afraid you can’t make it through a 2 hour class without pooping your pants. Its real, its terrible, and its debilitating.

I have met these brave young women and I am reminded that sometimes, quite literally,  shit happens, and you do your best to persevere.POOPCHART

Another group of people who have enlightened and encouraged me have been little old men veterans. Veterans specifically because they always have the greatest stories and are so excited to share them with you. They are respectful, and courteous. They believe in chivalry and are always happy to see you walk through their door. Every time I enter their room I get a feeling, a tiny one, but a feeling non-the-less, of coming home and being safe. They are thankful for your company, your care, and any small task that may seem merely routine for you.

They most likely don’t realize that their simple thank yous and charming stories ever make one bit of a difference in your life, but they do.

But unfortunately, they too, must poop. They must also poop fairly often as well, to avoid discomfort and problems. And if they haven’t pooped in a week, when they do finally go, after days of laxatives and other various treatments, boy do they go.

I have seen my fair share of turds in my nursing days, but none have compared to the golly-whopper a tiny little veteran spat out of his rectum for me one evening. I promise you I am not exaggerating when I say it was at least 5lbs and the size of a cantaloupe. And he had the greatest sense of humor about the entire experience. While I was assisting the perianal care of the bedbound jolly fellow, he cracked many jokes, giggles, and made the poop cleaning experience one of the best I have ever had, regardless of the poop-factor. 

His sore undercarriage would not be spared quite yet, because after that massive pile of poopie (or “poo poo” as he so eloquently referred to it on the call bell), we had rivers of free flowing liquid stool, at least 4 more times, each time, filling the bed pad, and involving multiple nurses to participate in the cleaning. Each time another nurse would join our poop-party till they were almost jumping over each other to help clean up crap. Can you imagine? People eager to clean up poop? This man could make you do it, as for the mere price of a clean posterior, you were rewarded with anecdote dotes, stories of vivid hallucinations, tank driving, ghosts, his many lives endeavors and his ongoing love for his caring wife.

It was a remarkable experience and a night I will never forget. I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed cleaning poop (except for, well of course my son) as much as I did for that little old man. On of my most repeated phrases in the workplace is that you have to laugh or you’ll cry. And I am please that there are others in this world who, like me, choose to laugh.

It just goes to show you, when life gets shitty, you need only get witty!

Comments

  1. KristinChaos says

    For some reason the Bristol Stool chart was recently posted in my unit's bathroom (along with all the other important fliers!) I am wondering if they're expecting us to rate ourselves?! Haha.

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