Proper Hygiene

An orderly working at the rehabilitation hospital welcomed me by suggestively rubbing my anus with her finger while she gave me a shower. She so much as admitted that her diddlng had nothing to do with hosing me down.

When I arrived at the hospital, the nurse on duty decided that I desperately needed a shower. The staff at the intensive care unit had been singularly occupied with saving my life. They justifiably didn’t concern themselves with relative minutiae like bathing me.

The orderly helped me transfer from my bed into a showerchair. At that time I couldn’t sit up in bed by myself and was only able to provide minimal assistance while she supported my nearly dead weight. White plastic tubing roughly four inches in diameter had been fashioned into the frame of the chair; a wide strip of waterproof canvas acted as the backrest. You planted your ass on what doubled as a toilet seat when hovering over a commode. She had removed my gown while I lie in bed. Then she dumped me naked into the chair and threw a bed sheet over me.

The castors on the legs of the showerchair squealed nonstop as she pushed me down the hall and into the shower room. I expected an average-sized room housing three or four shower stalls but the orderly wheeled me into an expansive chamber. She stationed the chair in a far corner across from the door and ripped the bed sheet off of me. I felt hyper-nauseated and my body intensely ached as never before or since. I could barely move or talk.

My stroke-muddled eyes saw the plaster above us as a slow-motion gimmicked funhouse ceiling that repeatedly sagged on the verge of collapse, then slowly regained solidity while rising to its original height. The echo of trickling water replaced the squeal of castors, the ventilator’s low hum droned under the echo. A vaguely acrid-plastic odor disconnected from the humidity and flourished on its own. Several broken-down wheelchairs languished next to the entrance; disembodied wheelchair parts, therapeutic apparatuses of mysterious function, leg braces, and walkers littered the floor. Faint rust stains framed exposed pipes against the walls.

The orderly pulled the hand-held shower attachment from its holder on the wall. She wrestled the hose and held the attachment at arm’s length while directing the business end toward the floor, then turned the knobs below the holder. The attachment coughed spurts of water and eventually issued a steady spray. To check the temperature she thrust the fingers of her free hand into the spray. When she was satisfied that I would be neither chilled nor scalded, she turned the spray on me.

After she’d sufficiently doused me and the washcloth she clutched, she shut the water off and replaced the attachment. She produced a small plastic bottle and squeezed a generous dollop of thick white liquid soap onto the washcloth. Methodically and gently she scrubbed me, starting with my hair and ending with my feet. She didn’t ignore my nether regions but she didn’t dote on them either.

She grabbed the attachment, turned the water back on and started to rinse me, manipulating it as if it was a can of spray paint. Utilizing the toilet seat design, she stuck it through the chair’s legs and aimed the geyser at my taint area. The attachment became a poor man’s bidet.

Then she pulled it from under my ass, reached in with her other hand and started to rub my anus with her finger.

She spoke with exaggerated innocence as she explained her probing digit: “I does this to my man and he says he be annoyed by it. I bets plenty mens’d be happy if their womans done this. Feels good don’t it?” She underscored the question by rubbing harder.

I mumbled my outrage. I don’t remember what I said but it sounded feeble and like I had a mouthful of marbles. She seemed satisfied with my response and started rinsing my legs.

She behaved professionally and made small talk while she towel-dried me. When she finished, she threw the bed sheet back over me and we returned to my room. There we performed what would become a showertime ritual at the hospital: she struggled to help me transfer from the showerchair to the bed; while I lie naked she dressed me in a gown; she covered me with the sheet and blanket folded at my feet. My mother went through the same motions—except for the transferring part, and the anus diddling part—when I was an infant. And this was only the first day . . .

One Response to “Proper Hygiene”

  1. Bryan Dean Says:

    In 2001 I was in Good Samaritan Hospital ,Portland OR, after an incomplete c-3 c-4 neck injury. During a bowel program ( in which it is necessary to insert one digit into the rectum) an aid? in her 60’s keep trying to see how much of her hand she could get in there. Not trying to compete, just relating. No one believed me as I couldn’t possibly feel what was happening and she was a trusted part of the machine.

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