Awhile back (Southern talk) I had a quadruple bypass. That’s the surgery where they roto-rooter your arteries to clear blockages. By the time it’s all over, they’ve opened up your rib cage with a bone saw and closed it again with wire. Not only does it leave a “zipper” scar on your chest that is too distinct for an exotic lie about its origin, it also leaves you kind of weak and needing assistance. There is not a bourgeoisie bone in my body and I really don’t want other folks doing things for me. It’s my experience that hospitals don’t give old fashioned bed pans to men anymore. They either catheterize you or give you a plastic container to urinate into. That’s great if you have to pee. If I had to do anything else I was supposed to contact a nurse to assist me. I don’t know about you but, but I am an incredibly private pooper (don’t groan – everyone has to poop). Even though Ed and I have been together for over 40 years, this is the one and only activity he knows I am uncomfortable with his company. However, if anyone is going to help me, it’s going to be Ed (not sure he’s going to be happy to hear that). A couple of days after surgery, I had to go to the bathroom badly but it was early in the morning and Ed hadn’t gotten there yet. The nurses were very attentive to my needs and often checked to see if I needed anything. They asked if I wanted to go to the bathroom and, waiting for Ed to get there, I lied and told them no. Finally I could wait no longer and, right after the nurse left the room, I cautiously climbed out of bed and very slowly made it to the bathroom where I did what I intended to do. I was bursting with pride as I left the bathroom and, not realizing my sense of balance was compromised, I fell backwards hitting my head on the bathroom floor making a lot of racket. The fact I had only hit my head made me comfortable I had not seriously injured myself. Suddenly I had a half dozen nurses surrounding me. They were chastising me while getting me to my feet. Worse still, Ed showed up while all these nurses were getting me back into bed which meant I had to endure another hour of chastising from Ed while the nurses alarmed my bed and moved me to a room adjacent to the Nurse’s Station. Did you know that beds of “problem” patients are sometimes alarmed? I was branded as a problem patient because I wanted privacy in the bathroom. For the duration of my stay, whenever a hand, foot or any other extremity went outside the border of the mattress an alarm loudly sounded. The alarm had only one good purpose I could discover. I do not sleep well in hospitals and get really bored during the night. Whenever I wanted companionship I would simply extend my leg out of bed and company would come running.
2 thoughts on “Privacy Please”
In 1962 when I entered the AF the barracks were “open bay” with lines of bunk beds. Continuing the theme, there were no private stalls in the latrine – everything in the open. This was a first for me and I was constipated for the first week. Finally worked out my need for some privacy by waking up around 0200 to crap. Not looking forward to diaper days.
When I was in college I pledged a fraternity for a short period of time. On the second floor of the house there was a common bathroom with five toilets without dividers. While others could have philosophical discussions while sitting there, I did not. I went to the student union about a block away whenever I needed to go.
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