Being sick: just one indignity after another – By Barbara Darius

Mrs.K. was taking a cocktail of medicines. One of the side effects of one particular pain medication was constipation. It seemed Mrs.K. was having this battle within herself to not take the pain medication because it causes constipation, but she was in so much pain.  The nurses offered stool softeners, but Mrs.K. did not want to take the stool softeners offered by the Nurses because Mrs.K. claimed it made her nauseous.

One Monday I came to see Mrs.K. and she said “Barbara, I haven’t had a gone to the bathroom in 2 weeks!”  I replied, “What do you mean you haven’t been to the bathroom in 2 weeks?!” Mrs.K. said, “A bowel movement, but the nurses took care of it and I feel so much better!”  I said, “What do you mean, they took care of it – they gave you some laxatives?” Mrs.K. replied “They tried 2 different laxatives, and they didn’t work; they had to go in and get it out!”

I wish you could have seen the look on my face. Mrs.K. explained that she had to raise her legs, as if she “was going to the lady doctor” and the nurse put on some gloves and went into Mrs.K’s anus and dug out the compacted feces.  I was speechless. I also made a promise to myself to take in more fiber. My Mother and Great-Grandmother were nurses and I NEVER heard such a story. The things nurses have to do!!

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