CAUTION: If you are any bit squeamish about hearing about poopy stuff, then this story is not for you, and you should not read any further.
At the facility I completed my clinicals at, there was a particular man who mostly grunted “yes grunts” and “no grunts” and left the rest up to me for interpretation.
From this man’s record, I saw that he once owned a motorcycle. I logged this away in my memory bank for conversation if we ever got past the grunting stage of our CNA-patient relationship.
With his usual CNA away on her honeymoon, I found that on this particular day, I was the familiar face he gravitated towards, and he ended up speaking numerous phrases throughout the day to me.
He was a very sweet gentleman, and he put up with a lot of my student mistakes as I fumbled my way through becoming more proficient at what I do. He was always willing to work with me.
Part of my numerous student tasks was to keep track of input and output. What a patient eats, drinks, and how much…and then what a patient puts out…Hopefully you get my drift.
For the entire time I worked with this particular man, I’d never been able to chart a bowel movement. I had the am shift, so I figured he must be a pm pooper. Who knows, but I didn’t care because it made my job quicker after lunch when most of the residents had a brief change and then a nap. I could quickly move on to the next patient.
Because this man didn’t stand, I used a mechanical lift that put him into a semi-standing position. I could then roll the lift to wherever I needed in order to seat him, lowering the lift slowly. While the lift is in the upright position, it is the best time to get a resident dressed and do a Depends change.
I was working with my partner who I asked to engage the man in conversation or at least to tell him what was happening while I did the brief change. I mentioned to my partner that the man rode a motorcycle at one point, and it might be a good day to talk about it since he seemed fairly alert and conversational.
He did, and the conversation went something like this:
“You rode a motorcycle, [insert patient’s name]?”
“Yeah, that I did.”
“___________[insert name of motorcycle which I forgot]”
“Wow, that’s great! That’s a smooth one. You were ridin’ with style.”
And then….the “vrooms” started.
Both guys started revving their invisible motorcycles, the gentleman gripping the handles of the mechanical lift pretending to rev his invisible motorcycle’s engine.
Meanwhile, I was behind him, doing the brief change, which initially started out like any other…clean, quick…and then, just as I was pulling the old brief away, “PTHHHHHHHH”…
I looked at my partner…. “He’s um…farting…should I just hold the old brief here in case something happens?”
“Sure…just to be safe.”
I held it, waited, and then nothing. A good minute passed and I thought we were in the clear. I pulled the old brief away once more and that’s when it happened: The Motorcycle Bowel Movement.
It was the stuff of legends.
With each “VROOOM” that this man did, there was a poo spurt. Not big or dramatic, just a tiny poo spurt. Was he revving the motor to disguise the spurt, did he know he was spurting, or did the effort involved in making the “vrooom” noise indirectly result in a spurt via the muscles involved?
I may never know.
But what I DID know was that there was a splat on the floor, I was running out of enough moist wipes to catch it the sporadic expulsions, and the clean brief was just out of my reach.
“We got fliers!” I told my partner, grateful for once that the resident was hard of hearing. In one swift move, my partner snagged the clean brief, tossed it to me, and I managed to interject in between the “Vrooms” and slap that sucker on.
We got everything cleaned up, and my day finished out much less eventful than that incident, but I was thinking later:
“All because I wanted to make some motorcycle small talk.”
That’ll teach me.