LooseCrew-JeffO: Humpty-Dumpty


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Saturday, October 31, 2009


When I was about 20, I shattered my right fibula and ripped all the ligaments and cartilage that held my ankle together. After surgery, with a cast up to my hip, I was pretty well bed-ridden.
I had never been a patient in a hospital before. No one bothered to inform me that I was expected to use a bedpan. Hell, I'd heard of bedpans but didn't know what they looked like!
A bit more than a day after surgery, I had to crap. Lying in bed gave me all the time in the world - too much time. I was used to expeditions in the Colorado mountains, so I looked at going to the bathroom as an expedition. There wasn't anything else to do, right?
Looking around the room, there was a chair next to the bed, and the usual nightstand next to the bed. I carefully, slowly inched my way out of bed, onto the chair, down onto the floor, using the chair to elevate my leg. I rested often. I inched my way across the room, chair in-tow, did my business, and returned to bed.

Over the next couple of days, I did this each day. Finally, a nurse came in and tried to give me some Milk-of-magnesia. I didn't know what that was. She said it was to "help me void".
"You haven't voided."
"You've been here three days and haven't voided. We can't release you until you void."
"I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you're talking about. Are you saying 'void'?"
"Well what does that mean? That doesn't make any sense to me. It's like you're speaking a different language."
"You're constipated. This will help move your bowels."
"Oh, you mean I haven't crapped! Why didn't you just say that? No one's going to know what you're talking about if you're afraid to say it!"

So I told her about my expeditions, and she told me how that was against the rules. Well no one had told me the "rules", or told me to use a bedpan, or showed me what a bedpan looked like, or what the word "void" was supposed to mean, and that I couldn't go home until I'd crapped. I swear, hospitals can be so retarded sometimes. They think we all graduated from Hospital Patient 101? Get real!

Looking back, I laugh at the experience. I also am real thankful for my mobility. At the time, I had readjusted my horizons so that a successful trip across the room was epic. I've since gone on many more adventures in the mountains, in winter storms, done tons of remote ultra-races, etc. I'm a lucky guy. Not sure how sick everyone is of hearing me say that. I've just been repeatedly reminded of it throughout my life. My luck keeps staring me in the face.


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