Thursday, June 7, 2012

Is There Anything I WON'T Tell You?

So it was a typical nurse day...

At least it was a "typical" in the sense that I had the unpleasant duty of helping a man use the urinal.

Only he wasn't old, decrepit, or helpless.  He was a thirty something homeless guy who has hepatitis C, which results in an accumulation of fluid in his abdomen called ascites.  The PA drains the fluid off of the abdomen by first visualizing the abdomen with ultrasound to ensure where the fluid collection is, and if it is a large enough amount and in an area that can be safely drained without hitting liver or bowel.  The PA then cleans the skin with a strong disinfectant, then places a sterile drape over the area, numbs the area with lidocaine then places a small catheter in to drain the fluid.  The procedure is considered sterile, and the drape can not In the case of this particular patient, he had to keep his arm underneath the drape, due to the fact that this is where his arm was when we began, and so there it had to stay.

"I really need to pee."

The PA looked at him with a sense of are you kidding me and tried to say in her sugary sweet slightly patronizing manner, "Well, try to hold it.  We will take some pressure off of that bladder when we drain this fluid off."

So, he dropped it.

And he began to tell me about living at the Jesus House and how he's unhappy with the work they are making him do.  It seems he's in charge of cleaning the women's restroom.  He would prefer to be in charge of sorting clothing.  "Then I can look through the pockets for any money people may have left.  Last week someone found $250."

So, that was a revelation...

"I really need to pee.  Like right now."

The PA looked at me, rolled her eyes and said, "Okay.  Can you use a urinal?"  Which is all very well and good for her to say, because she is in sterile gloves, and with his one arm out of commission, it was pretty clear she would be of no assistance in aiding in the process...

Of COURSE he can use a urinal.  Unlike many men.  You wouldn't believe the amount of men who bemoan the need to pee, but refuse to try using a urinal lying down.  "Pee lying down?  I have to stand up to pee."  And then I very sweetly say, "Then you will have to wait."  And they whine and cry some more because they really have to pee, but are completely unwilling to try a new position, so to speak.  I swear.  I am so glad I'm not burdened with such an appendage.  That surely must be the most high maintenance appendage God ever created.  It certainly gets more consideration than any other...

So, I asked one of my able bodied coworkers, who was within shouting distance, "Hey, Tom!  Could you bring me a urinal please?"

Now came the fun part.  He used his left arm to lift his massively swollen abdomen out of the way while I reached underneath, tugged his belt loose, unbuttoned his pants, and slid his zipper down.  Then he was able to free the aforementioned appendage from his briefs, but was unable to position it in the urinal due to his incredibly swollen belly...

So I took the job in hand, so to speak, and placed it in the urinal trying to hold it in such a way that I don't have to hang on to it while he voids, but also where the urinal will not spill out.

"Wow.  That's a good one.  I haven't peed like that in weeks."

And while I'm very adept at just about any conversation, I was unsure of what to say to that.  "Congratulations" seemed a bit much.  Especially considering one of the weird things I've learned as a nurse is that peeing in a urinal is akin to peeing in a red Solo cup...It sounds more impressive than it is.

My knowledge of men's body fluid expulsion is boundless...

I've helped countless people use the facilities.  And it pretty much never bothers me.  Because here's the deal:  I've come to the conclusion that everyone will need their butt wiped at some point in their life.  And when I reach that stage, I just pray that the nurse treats it as no big deal.  So, I endeavor to treat it as what it is.  No big deal.

"When did they start making women do this?"

 Beat of silence.

Look of confusion between PA and I.

We both avoided answering.  I wasn't sure if he was referring to the PA, who is a woman doing "man's work," or me, holding his penis.  Because I'm pretty sure that holding it should be a man's job in the strictest sense.  However, if we're referring to helping people to the bathroom, he surely doesn't mean that.  Because nurses began in the lowest of the low stature, and many were forced into the position and doubled as prostitutes for the soldiers they served...But they were basically always women.  But he probably didn't know that little fact...

"I always thought this was a man's job."

Well, he's not letting it go.  "I'm not sure what you mean."

"This.  I always thought this was a man's job."  And this time he made it abundantly clear he was referring to me holding his penis in the urinal...I didn't offer a response.  Because, again.  What on earth is there to say?  I'm holding a urinal to ensure it doesn't dump over.  I have my hand positioned in such a way as to avoid it slipping out and making a big mess that I would undoubtedly end up cleaning...

"But maybe that was in San Francisco."  And at that point I nearly laughed out loud.  I had the immediate thought that it's probably not a good idea to start laughing when holding a man's pride in your hand.

And just when I thought it was safe to release it, I noticed the "twitch."  Now, any male readers (which are very few) are immediately aware of my meaning here.  It is when the bladder is nearly empty and they strain for the last few drops causes a "twitch."  At least that's what I call it.  Men probably have another term...Such as "power thrust"  or "jet spray," or even "power wash" or something much more intimidating than "twitch."  But none the less....He started to "twitch" so I made sure the twitch did not lead to a splatter outside of the urinal....

I tell ya.  There just ain't nothing better than a Tuesday morning holding a strange homeless man's penis, talking about rifling through donated clothes for forgotten change, and men in San Francisco holding a penis, all the while making sure he doesn't sprinkle when he's finishing the job.

Oh, wait!  I forgot to tell you the absolutely crowning glory of this entire exchange...

Just when you thought this day could not possibly get any better...

He had scabies.

Yep.  He sure did.

Scabies.

3 comments:

Givinya De Elba said...

Oh Andi! Great post! (Even funnier nw that I misspelled 'post' as 'pist'.) Loved the bit about how it's such a high-maintenance appendage, but then the whole thing got funnier and more cringe-worthy, and contained more and more quotable bits. And to think I mightn't have found the time to click over here if you hadn't titled the post "Is there anything I won't tell you?"

Dawn Castor said...

So I'll quit complaining about my job for a moment or two! Ewwwww...!

Anonymous said...

when are ya' gunna' write a book?
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