Decency standards – what are they again?

“You can pee in this.” I look somewhat in despair at the nurse who happily approaches with a bed pan. One of those ice-cold iron things shoved under your buttocks.

“In it?” I ask in a squeaky voice…. She nods encouragingly. “Just press the bell when you’re ready!” And she walks out of the room. Leaving me behind on the bed pan. Balancing awkwardly because, of course, you don’t want to also suffer the embarrassment of peeing wrong and being left with a wet bed.

“But I actually have to do a big errand/number two” you want to exclaim in desperation but the nurse is already off to the next patient.

decency standards

If you’ve ever been in a hospital, you probably know that pushing the boundaries of decency adapts to the situation at lightning speed. So that very first time in the emergency room in Norway was a milestone. I really needed to pee and could sort of slide onto a toilet chair at the time. But the nurses didn’t want to leave me alone. (I was in shock and stuff like that) So you have to pee in the presence of two adult women. Thank God no men. I really couldn’t have done that that first time I don’t think. But anyway. You have to. So you do.

On a toilet chair you still feel like you have a normal bowel movement. But that bed pan….

Arriving at the AMC, in fact, I had to be quarantined. That had everything to do with protocol and the mrsa bacteria that is floating around in some hospitals. So anyone who comes from another country and has been in a hospital there automatically goes into quarantine. In my case a formality because Norway is not immediately a risk area but still; rules are rules. And they simply didn’t have a toilet chair left (because once in the quarantine room that chair had to stay there). So I was forced to go on the bed pan those first few days. Despite the fact that I could do quite well on a toilet chair.

And there comes a time when you have to do a “number 2” as well. Thank God my bowel movements have not yet suffered from all that lying down. Lots of vegetables do wonders. But then you find out that such a bed pan is not very deep. And I have (or maybe I should say had) hefty buttocks. And so – you guessed it – you kind of hang in there. Yep…

And you have to call with the redness on your cheeks when you’re done. When the nurse comes in you already start apologetically yelling “Sorry! I stink a little!!!’ and then you have to get rid of that bed pan thing. Which by now sticks to the buttock. So carefully (no spilling!!!) the thing is pulled out from under your derriere. And as you pull yourself up you are expertly cleaned.

And yes sure; I know that they have seen worse. But don’t tell me that there is any one nurse who, for fun, removes residual fecal matter from a patient’s buttocks. There aren’t. Impossible. It is part of the job, but a necessary evil. Of that I am convinced.

But as I said; you push your limits at lightning speed. Before you know it, you are undressing in front of someone, washing in front of a stranger or peeing under the watchful eye of… You have no choice either. You’re only human after all.

Now that I’m back home it’s a lot less degrading. Because, of course, Tom is not a stranger and we have been going to the same toilet for years. Still, that too is a little embarrasing; because now he has to clean my toilet. When we are watching TV together I have to slide on the toilet chair every now and then. And well I don’t have to explain anything else right?

With any luck I will soon be able to slide on a regular toilet again. I already can’t wait! 🙂 All posts about my ankle conditions can be found here.

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