Monday, June 18, 2012

"Hey Pam, You Wanna Come Wipe My Butt?"

What a humiliating question. Now let me put it in context. It is funny to me now and at the time I was actually happy to accommodate.

I started taking care of my dad in February 2002. When I took him home they had given him around 10 days to live and he was pretty much out of his mind from a combination of drugs and sepsis. He had his leg amputated the month before (a procedure which saved his life), but due to the severity of the infection and the massive amounts of pain killers and mood altering drugs he had been on, the doctors did not know if he would ever regain his mental capacity.

The first time I saw him naked was highly traumatizing for me. He was my dad after all. Unfortunately I had to get used to it because he would sit in his hospital bed with nothing more than his pajama top on and a smile. When the nurses would point out that I was his daughter he would be mortified that he was in such a state in front of me but within minutes he would be uncovered again as he became unaware of his surroundings. It was sad but it was also comical to watch his mind teeter back and forth.

Anyway he reached a point where I could take him home. It was like taking care of a 155 pound baby. I had to do everything for him. He gradually became strong enough to go to the toilet with the assistance of several pieces of medical equipment. He was still unable to wipe his bottom, which of course meant I had to do it.

I would leave him for privacy's sake and he would holler for me when he was ready for help. I would hear, "Hey Pam, you wanna come wipe my butt?" I would cringe but I would go do it. After about a month of hearing those words, I could stand it no more.

I went into the bathroom and I said, "Daddy, I want to ask you a favor."

"What?" My sweet little daddy looked up at me and asked.

"You know I will always do this as long as this is necessary," I said as I went about administering to his needs. "But I need you to rephrase the question, do you wanna come wipe my butt. I absolutely do NOT want to wipe your butt, but I will because it needs done and you can't do it."

He started to laugh and said, "I see your point."

From that day forward he would yell, "Hey Pam, would you come in here for a minute?" Of course it meant the same thing, but it made me feel so much better about the situation.

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