Where Is She?

And there was the half hour before the stretcher came to take me down to the procedure and I had to take a shower with special disinfectant soap and also hair. This sounds simple. Infirm, it is anything but.
I lay out towels, place one on the chair in the shower so I won’t touch flesh to unknowable plastic. I have donned a plastic sleeve that goes all the way up to my shoulder that is supposed to keep the IV in my right arm dry. It looks like a cartoon hand, something Mickey Mouse. It is practically useless. The left hand has to do everything.
I tear the soap packet with my teeth, a single serving, and then have to find a place to balance it so it doesn’t spill while I arrange the wash cloth to receive it. In the middle of massive headache, the whole shower apparatus is new to me. It sports two different knobs and two different nozzles. Thank heaven, I understand red and blue in this context.
In the midst of this project and with water running, I feel a peristaltic action, shall we say. This is good news as it has been five days. I have been preparing for 3 with prune juice, senokot, lettuce, spinach and bulk. The time has arrived.
I make it to the toilet without sitting on my gown though it has draped unhandily and is impeding both hands. I start to feel faint as my stomach heaves. I pull the cord for the nurse. The Aide appears. I say I’m light-headed. She says she will tell the nurse. I sit surprised at how forceful digestion is that it should make me faint. I am right at the edge of “I can deal with this” and “I am losing it and will fall.”
The bowel begins its work. There is a spasm in the gut and a dry heave and a panic. I can’t move because of what’s happening. Once the bowel is done, my head sort of clears as though it has taken every single system working together to get it done. Now comes the hard part.
With a wad of toilet paper in my cartoon hand, I aim toward the back-end of what I know to be me. I encounter all kinds of things. I wipe and wipe. It sticks here and sticks there. I go for more toilet paper. Strings of shit-laden toilet paper leave the body of the bowl of the toilet. Very bad. I topple almost. The plastic hand is covered with shit. I swipe the plastic hand with my left hand full of toilet paper. Shit is everywhere.
I unroll the plastic hand down my arm and throw it in the trash. I take off everything, tossing the gown in the corner. I still have no idea where or how much of myself is contaminated. I stand under the shower starkers with my right hand sticking out beyond the ring of warm water. With my left, I manage to reach the soap and apply it to all places. With both now clean hands I clear my eyes of soap and find the towel, then manage a new gown and begin to clean up floor and toilet seat. The head swims. Everything goes in the garbage.
I make my way back to bed. When someone asks how I am 15 minutes later, I tell them I am fine but there is a mess in the bathroom.

2 thoughts on Where Is She?

  1. I read this as I was doing the prep for my colonoscopy tomorrow. It made me feel I wasn’t so alone in my misery.

    • Ha. You will be fine. Enjoy the propafal (however you spell it). I will be thinking of you.

Leave a Reply