Hospital experience ( this is way over due but I just didn’t have the time to edit etc till not. )
Now, the first thing we need to get out of the way is the word Fat. F. A.T. is not a bad word (see only 3 letters, not four). So, if you see me saying fat, please note it is a descriptive statement and NOT negative. Now that I explained the word, I want to talk about my hospital stay or rather particularly using the bathroom when bed bound in a very personally vulnerable way.
My hospital stay was not just a time to hang out and take it easy. It was 46 days of trying not to be a bother to the overworked nurses, but still take care of my needs. My biggest dislike of hospitals is, it seems I am always in a hospital for some reason that I can’t get out of bed. My heart, my surgeries, my now ankle. This always means, one of these: a catheter, bedpan, and or potty-chair, and now to add the pure wick. This means a lack of privacy, a lot of embarrassment, discomfort, and total vulnerability. This last stay for my ankle surgery was no less one of the most embarrassing times in my life until I pulled it together and used a bit of my fat magic to change my narrative.
Changing my narrative was not easy and I must confess some damn good nurses caused this narrative to change faster than if I would have had bad ones. I will give you a bit of my fat patient story about how my hospital stay for 46 days affected me by not once peeing or pooping in the comforts of a commode and bathroom.
Up until this last stay I was terrified of catheters. I had always been under sedation when they had been put in before. I will say I will no longer be afraid of a catheter, by far the best for urinating. Sure, you have something shoved up inside of you, but if you can stand a tampon (which, I know isn’t the same entrance, I was just giving an example of) this catheter thing is no problem. You literally can’t feel it. I think they have come a long way since the days of my nana who hated them and believed them to be painful. While for me if I ever find myself in the hospital again where I am having trouble moving or can’t get out of bed and if I am given a choice, I will go the way of a catheter. However, a downside is if you have an extended stay, after many, many, many days the catheter gets where it can cause infections and that isn’t good. So out with the catheter after a week, possibly two according to how you feel. You can ask for a replacement, and they have to change it.
If you are still not convinced you can go the way of the catheter, then let me introduce you to these new things called Pure wicks. These are curious devices and for someone who does not pee often, I assure you this would be a great version of a catheter for you. Just imagine a hot dog being the pure wick and you being the bun. That is exactly how a pure wick lies on you “down there”! The hotdog part has vacuum mode. When you urinate, it sucks it up and into a canister. The negative about a pure wick is that they seriously have to be changed every four to five pees if you urinate a lot. The other negative is If you urinate too fast it will go everywhere. It can also get a little annoying with the wetness and constant sucking. It can cause a raw feeling if not careful and bathed each time it is changed.
I learned a few tricks with the pure wick which helped it last a bit longer. Such as using a chuck to tuck in between your anus and your tampon area. Then fold a towel and place it crossways where the top of the pure wick is. this last one mentioned before is essential, they must change it at least every 6 times you urinate.
So that leaves us to bedpans. Well folks the honest truth is my weight verse the pan, my long-time shyness of using the bathroom in front of people or in awkward situations leaves me at a loss of I CAN’T USE A BED PAN. So, this is what I did. After an awesome nurse come up with this for me. I started asking for two-bed pads the washable ones to keep under me. When or If I could feel that I needed to do a bowel moment. I would ask for two paper pads one under my butt and one to lay over my butt after I shift to my side. Folks after almost 15 days of basically not having a good bowel movement, having meltdown after meltdown, I was so thankful for that nurse because for the next 20-plus days I was able to regulate my bowel movement and through trial and error of what worked best for my body it was an effortless cleanup.
Let me insert a bit here about cleanup. Don’t be afraid to give instructions. Especially if you’re a big woman. Most of the nurses appreciate knowing the best way to help you be clean and feel better, also at the end of the day it makes their job easier. Trust me by day 35 everyone knew exactly what and how I preferred to be cleaned. I’ll share that here in case it may help you. So, say I had a bowel movement I would be on my side. Normally my right side (it was easier on my foot.) I would ask them after they took care of the bowel movement to replace the two washable pads if they got dirty. Most of the time they did not. Then after they used the wipes, I brought or sometimes allowed the hospital wipes with lotion, I would ask to be dried. When they used the wipes, I would be like I know that you skinny girls don’t get that my butt crack and butt hole have different depths than you do. You have got to spread my cheeks and get in there. I don’t want to be dirty. The chuck pad I mention before (up above) comes into play when having a bowl moment. If you choose to lay on your back to use the bathroom (which frankly sometimes I had to) that chuck helps the bowel movement, not get to where the catheter or pure wick is. You know that area between the back and front well You have to tell them they need to wipe you there as well. This can have debris there that if left uncleaned can cause smell and infection. NO ONE WANTS EITHER OF THOSE THINGS. Ladies and even gentlemen It only takes you talking candid and precise instructions.
Clean up when it is just the front, you have to know your body there too. Skinny women often do not think about things. Just think they only have to wipe once and things are done. I explained it to one young nurse … Honey Just think of my vagina like my butt. The things you think you are cleaning is not where you’re cleaning. YOU have to go deeper. So, after it was established of the deepness of my lady bits, I soon learned that I was allergic to the hospital wipes when they were used in the front, but my back could handle them. So, I had my normal wet wipes brought in for them to use, and if we did not have those we used plain ole hot water and a wash rag. At the end of the day, it was the nicest. You have to stress if they aren’t getting the right area that you need them to try again. Also, dry, dry and dry. Don’t ever let them walk away without drying you, because let me tell you, wet skin can cause all sorts of problems you do not want, and if we’re honest, they don’t want that for you either because it’s more work for them if you get raw or infections. Remember it is a win-win for you to take care of your body.
Are you still reading… Well, if you are chances are you really need this information. Let me get to the biggest win of all. Obviously, you can’t go home with a catheter or pure wick unless you have a lot of money to spend. So, while I used this when I was in the hospital a couple of times, we have perfected it here at home. I’d suggest if you can’t get up and you’re afraid once you have to go to the bathroom that it will be too late to do a bunch of moving. Go on amazon, and purchase bed pads. The bigger the better. When you’re going to start your day you get in the middle of the pad, and you’re good. So how did I pee until I was able to put weight on my ankle? When I had to go my spouse would fold a towel in three long ways and then I would lift my butt a little and he would stick it under me and up to where the leftover is on my belly. He would then lay a bigger towel across my pubic area to catch any escaping urine. Now I can’t promise you that the pad will always stay dry, and I can’t promise you that if left to your own device that it will not be hard to manage to get it snug so you don’t pee out. It is a bit of a struggle alone, but so easy with someone. Either way, it’s better than sitting around needing to urinate and can’t.
Remember if at home or in the hospital take the situation as it is, part of life. You will survive it, there is no shame in it and you are worthy of all the care your body needs. This isn’t just for fat people , it is for all bodies … You are worthy of care… Repeat that after me. No one has the power to make you ashamed but you. YOU are not anything to be ashamed of. You are amazing and strong. Take care of yourself, my friends.