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We track everything...

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

I have written before that a lot of my job is managing bowel movements, hence the need for a shit sheet.

Sometimes we are asked to keep track of every bowel movement color, size and shape. We must write with detail and other times not so much detail, just that it happened. One time we were asked to track BMs and "voids". We did so for about 4 months without anyone asking to see the data. I mentioned this to the son and he looked embarrassed and said "Oh I forgot about that. You can stop now". What? We spend a good part of our working day either writing about it, talking about it, changing Depends, cleaning up afterwards, disposing of and ordering more supplies so we can continue the process without interruption.

It must be hard the first time a new aid has to wipe a person because they can't do it themselves. I wonder what a turning point that must be. To me it's just part of my job, to them, our patient, it's losing their dignity. Another element of their independence is gone. People are always somewhat angry about it but in the end there's nothing they can do. You need your bottom wiped or a myriad of medical problems ensue. It must be done. I always try to be gentle but talkative the first time. You can see the embarrassment on their faces and hear the horror in their voice. So I try to be very nice and distracting the first few times. After that it's wipe once, wipe twice, possibly a third time if need be then all done. Throw towelette in waste basket along with a full Depends. Grab a new Depends, a new Poise Pad if necessary, pull up, stand up and off you go. Oh yes and don't forget to mark it down if instructed. After a while it becomes so routine no one thinks about it. It's now the "New" normal. But turning that corner is a milestone. Taking your first step, riding a bike, getting your drivers license, turning 18, turning 21, you get the idea.

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