Sunday, March 1, 2009


I've had nurses tell me that everyone has "one thing" that they just don't do, or have a hard time dealing with. For my wife, her one thing is open, sucking, gaping wounds. They make her queasy and have made her light-headed before. But she's also a testament to learning to deal with your one thing--she's been a successful pediatric critical care nurse for 6 1/2 years now, and she does see her fair share of patients with open sucking wounds.

Well, my one thing is...shit. I don't think it's the smell--I've learned I can close my nose off pretty effectively from all the poopy diapers I've changed. It's not the sight of it either--once you're used to breast milk poops, there's not much that will faze you in that department. Unless it moves on its own. But mostly I think it's just the thought of it that gets me.

I know that a lot of nursing care is dealing with poop. I know that it's a fact of life. I know that most patients can't help what's oozing out of their ass. I also know that most patients KNOW that there poop situations sucks and it's a great source of embarrassment to them. I know that putting on your nurse face is the greatest gift you can give these patients.

But the thought of ass juice just makes my skin crawl.

I'm working on it.


  1. I totally understand. My thing is phlegm, spit etc. Urgh, just writing the words turns my stomach. I literally gagged last semester when I had to lift the jar (for the lab) and a looong snail trail followed it. Ugh. Gag. I could NEVER EVER be a RT!

  2. Hope it all works out for you in the end! Wink wink! ;o) Couldn't resist! I know when I posted about learning about urinary and bowel emlimination on FB a bunch of you guys gave me a bunch of crap about it...


    Ahem, anyway.

    So far, and I haven't had to do it yet, I'm having a hang up about (and you'll probably be able to appreciate this) male catheterization. I actually had to go in when AW had one done for diagnostic reasons after he'd been hospitalized for a kidney infection. I forget what the actual procedure was called. But even for routine urinary caths....eww. And it's not like I have trouble handling a penis!

  3. I am with you! I can handle animal crap. Doesn't bother me at all. And I am totally used to the dirty diapers. But the human crap is awful. My husband has some powerful bowel movements that require toilet cleaning, and I almost gag just looking at it, let alone cleaning it.
    I don't think I could get used to dealing with patient feces. Best of luck to you.

  4. Poop really bothers me as well, and puke. Blech! I picked the wrong floor to work on because Med-Surg is essentially a GI floor. Way to go Christy! Ha ha.

    I totally get what you mean. You will learn to block it out as best as you can because if you don't you couldn't work. I just try my best at not looking at it, unless absolutley necessary. LOL For instance...when emptying a bedside commode I will pour and not look. You can't really practice this technique while cleaning someone, however you can try, but you may miss some spots. I don't recommend this. He he.

    Puke is a whole other issue for me for another day, but I will say that the first time I really felt like a nurse was when I held the basin and was more worried about them, than my hang ups with vomit.

    You will overcome it! Mind over matter. ;)

  5. Someone could make a lot of money if they invented a rapid-acting drug with a really short half-life that selectively agonized the poop-receptor cells in your nostrils.

  6. Ah- just one more thing on the LONG list of why even when I thought it might be nice - I am not a nurse. Of course I had trouble cutting open a cow's eyeball in grade school . . . the list is long . . .