Now that I'm working in the hospital, I see waaaaaaaay more disgusting things than I did in assisted living. I won't say that hospital is definitely more disgusting than home care because sometimes people's homes are just beyond nasty. But assisted living tends to be pretty decent.
So now that I've been exposed to more things, I figured you all would be delighted to know what I find the most icky.
1. The Worst Smell Ever; when someone keeps vomiting blood and poo. It's just so, so bad. I mean it's three unpleasant things all mixed together. And it smells ungodly.
2. Trach suctioning. I know, not nice. It's necessary. Sometimes people need that tracheostomy (a hole at the base of their throat in front) to help them breathe. And sometimes that hole gets plugged up with mucous. And then that mucous must be suctioned out. And yep, it's exactly as oogy as it sounds. Especially if they're coughing and end up with puddles of phlegm pooling on their chest, which then also must be cleaned up.
3. Pulling out lines. This is more of an "I feel phantom pain imagining this" reaction on my part. The people who do this aren't with it enough to be as bothered by it as a normal, alert person would be. But the sight of someone ripping out their own IV, or (God help them) other lines or tubes just makes me shudder. Doesn't matter what the line is or what it's putting in or out of the body, the idea of them ripping out really grosses me out.
...and lastly, one that I'm surprised is not that bad to me? Wound packing and unpacking. When someone has MRSA or whatever and it eats a hole into them, that wound must then be frequently packed full of stringlike bandaging, then have that removed, and replaced with clean packing. It sounds awful, but it's actually pretty cool. It's what allows people to heal from the inside out, rather than the outside in. You wouldn't want your skin to close up over a big empty pocket in your body, because that wouldn't be structurally sound. So instead this way it heals properly. But it does look pretty weird.