Since I got promoted, I have matured rapidly. I’m no longer fun and carefree, I am now sombre and responsible and very adult. I knew it had to happen sooner or later, one can not live in Lala Happy Pony Kitty Land where the prime minister is a cat named Marvin and his cabinet is made up of candy-floss forever. I am plagued with concern about my career and I do not laugh so much anymore. Which is actually sad.

Yet today things turned around. Today was the first time I laughed at work since being promoted. And today reminded me of why I got into nursing and stayed there.

And of course, faeces played a big part of it.

My colleague and I took over a patient whose nurse had an important meeting. It was all meant to be straightforward so I agreed. Just goes to show how out of practice I am when it comes to ward life: rule number 1- nothing is ever straightforward in a hospital.

Well, this patient was an elderly gentleman who needed help to walk. He all of a sudden really needed to take a dump, so we assisted him to the loo.

Now this man was moving FAST for such an old dude, he needed to crap bad. I open the door to the closest toilet and there’s a little old lady sitting there, taking a poo.

The old man shouted out ‘oh shit!’

And he proceeded to do precisely that. In the middle of the corridor. And it was explosive. My colleague and I literally leapt away from the pelting faeces.

My colleague and I were then in a bit of a quandary. Do we take him to the nearest toilet and have him make a poopie trail all the way down the hall? We certainly couldn’t just leave him there with shit round his ankles….

Brain wave! Break out the commode! It’s like a toilet on wheels:


So we got him to sit on it and wheeled him to the nearest bathroom. The following conversation took place:

Old dude: hmmmm….I’m not used to taking a shit in the middle of the corridor…
Me: oh well, I guess there’s a first time for everything…
Old dude: I guess that’s one way of looking at it…

Can you honestly think of any other?

So while in the toilet we tell this guy ‘shall we leave you to it and come back when you are done?’
‘No, no you can stay and keep me company!’

Unfortunately, the smell was keeping us company too. It was so potent that it was giving the dreary hospital bathroom some character.

All of a sudden, he looks me in the eye and goes ‘hey! You have an accent! *FART* are you Canadian? *FART SPATTER SPLOSH*’

By then my colleague was facing the wall, dying of trying to hold in her laughter. And let’s be honest, it was all quite bizarre.

I started repeating my affirmations: focussed and functional. Professional and purposeful.

‘Why yes, I’m from Kenora Ontario.’
‘Kenora!? That’s quite remote! *PARP! SPLATTER! SQUEE!*
‘I guess so…’

Oh my God. I was actually holding a serious conversation with someone who was actively defaecating in my presence.

He was finally ready, we got him cleaned up and got him back to bed.

It was all too much. I laughed. I laughed until I needed my ventolin inhaler. I laughed until my face was tear-stained. Empowered and empathic my arse.

And faeces aside, it felt good.

And it brought back memories of when I was a student. How much I used to write and document all the weird and wonderful things that working with all walks of life brings. As students, we used to sit around the cafeteria tables and share gruesome stories and laugh until we choked or got so disgusted that we would throw away our food.

And the biggest lesson here? Life kind of just happens to you. Things get difficult and serious. You become an adult. It is so easy to forget who you are because you are being buried under the world’s bullshit. Yes, one must grow and adapt. But never lose what makes you yourself. No matter what.