If Anyone Is Counting

About two months ago I wrote about a “poop disaster” which involved the living room carpet, and Grandpa walking through his own feces and generally making a mess of things. A charming, pleasant, story, if you recall. Today I have a little addendum of sorts.

A few weeks ago I was getting Grandpa ready for his shower. I had the water on, the bathroom prepped, and was getting Grandpa undressed. At this point I discovered he had done a little bit of poop in his diaper. No big deal–a little bit of clean up with some wipes and we could get on with the shower. I was about halfway through cleaning him up when Grandpa announced, “I have to take a crap.”

Now, from past experience I knew Grandpa’s announcement didn’t mean, “I have to take a crap sometime in the near future. There is no hurry, just whenever we get a convenient moment.” Quite the contrary, “I have to go” means, “I have to go right now.” If he has to go pee, that either means he is presently going, or else he will be in fifteen seconds, which in either case isn’t really helpful, because there is no way you’ll get him to the bathroom. For a bowel movement, his announcement of impending need might give you a little more time–like one minute, to avoid a cleanup job, if you’re lucky.

As it happened, our situation at the time was less than idea. We were in the bathroom doorway–so the toilet was nearby–but we weren’t at the toilet. Worse, I was on my knees behind Grandpa cleaning his unprotected butt and upon his announcement I now had between fifteen seconds and a minute to get that unprotected butt onto the toilet or face a mess all over the place, myself possibly included.

What followed was a mad scramble.

My response is something like, “Aaahhh! Okay, okay. Just hang on a minute! Hang on.”

In those few seconds I realized I would have a big problem getting Grandpa to the toilet in time. When going anywhere on his feet, or doing anything, Grandpa doesn’t–very understandably–want to go fast. Getting him off the couch and into the wheelchair to take him to the kitchen table for supper can take several minutes. The problem now was, I didn’t have several minutes to coach him to slowly walk three steps across the bathroom and turn around to sit down on the toilet. Sometime within those several minutes he would simply start pooping, wherever we were, or whatever we were doing.

The only possible chance we had of getting is naked bottom onto the toilet before everything broke lose was if I manhandled him. In those few seconds I grasped the situation and sprang into action, seizing him from behind under his armpits and propelling him forward. What followed was a quick flurry, as Grandpa tried to grab on to various objects, I tried to keep him from grabbing on to various objects while propelling him forward and at the same time trying to keep myself–as much as possible–out of the line of fire from his behind, in case things didn’t go so well. It’s a delicate art, but Grandpa suffered a bit as I removed him rather roughly from the bathroom doorknob, made him preform a pirouette and deposited him on the toilet.

Elapsed time: Less than thirty seconds. Grandpa securely on the toilet? Yes. Success then, right? Yes!

. . . But wait, (that dawning second when the mind takes fresh stock of its surroundings,) why do I have this very warm sensation on my foot? The very moment you have the thought you know the answer, but still you must look. I look down at my foot. Yep. My bare foot is partly embedded in a warm, moist, a very fresh miniature cow-pie. A good attempt on my part, but by the evidence I was about six inches and five seconds too late. It appears that as I was swinging Grandpa down in the final descent, just before he reached the toilet, he spontaneously let loose. It was a neat pile. It missed his pants. But my bare foot landed halfway in it.

“Gaaaahhhh!” It’s not a scream. It’s more the muffled, teeth-clenching sort of “I knew it! I just knew it!” exclamation.

“What’s the matter?” Grandpa asks, slightly alarmed by my drawn out articulation. “Are you hurt?”

“No,” I said, collecting myself. “I just got poop all over my foot.”

Grandpa laughed.

(I’m not sure if he entirely understood–but I think my strangled exclamation, followed by my sigh and matter-of-fact declaration struck his funny-bone.)

In the end, of course, this was not a big disaster. The bathroom floor is linoleum, so clean up was half a minute, not the several hours required for the living room carpet. True, I’ll probably never forget the warm sticky softness of poop on my bare foot, but–after all–what is life about if not experiences?

So, if anyone is keeping count, Grandpa has stepped in poop with his bare foot (see previous post) and now I have stepped in pooped with my bare foot. Let’s hope it stops there.

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