Thursday, August 19, 2010

Crossing the line

The other day, in between shifts, I stopped at a fast food restaurant for a rice and bean burrito. Tasty! Since the home I was headed to doesn't have any toilets without "hats" in them to collect urine, I figured I'd better use the bathroom there. I walked in and was hit with that cloying, suffocating smell, and instead of thinking "Oh gross, jeez!" like a normal person, I thought "Oh! It smells just like Mrs. So-and-So's bathroom! Does someone in here have an ostomy bag?". Then I saw that one of the stalls had an out of order sign on it and probably something ungodly was in there.

That's when I knew I'd crossed the line and would never have a normal sense of what is and isn't disgusting again. I think it's inevitable when you spend your days toileting, changing, bathing and all around dealing with sick and elderly people.

It takes something really beyond the pale to get to me anymore, and if something does manage to grab my attention through sheer revulsion on my part, it's probably making me laugh at the same time.

So in no particular order, here's the short list of things I still get grossed out by. It's not for the squeamish!

1. Changing a brief or doing peri-care on a male who has a "#3" in there. If you're not familiar with this term, use your imagination. It's not a #1 or #2, although the presence of either or both of these increases the horror exponentially. Nope, a #3 is the other thing that can exit the urethra. Yep. Ew.

2. Poop on the shower floor. Something about the wet plopping sound and the way the steam just turns it into a vaporizer of fecality that will have you longing for Vicks or anything strong and mentholated to coat your nasal passages in. And the cleanup is a real bastard.

3. The smell of old, stale urine, especially if the urinator has a UTI or has been drinking alcohol. You wouldn't think it could possibly smell as strongly as poop, but it sure can.

4. The smell of blood mixed with any of the preceding three ickies. Adding in the smell of blood to any of those is the only thing that currently makes me gag and dry heave immediately.

What about you all, which of these is the grossest to you? If anyone says "none" and means it, you deserve a bronzed section of intestine to show what a strong stomach you have.

See, it stuff like this that makes healthcare workers into a subculture. No one else wants to hear about this junk, let alone thinks it's as funny as we do!


  1. Number 3 happens? I was going to go to the grocery store, but I think I'll stay home and throw up now.

  2. Yeah, I dunno how well I'd cope with any of the above. Funny thing though is that I somewhat enjoy my own #3s -- minus the diaper of course.

    Does he know people call him "The Brummler"?