The patient was sitting in the hospital bed awaiting my arrival for his Speech Therapy session. His unexpected response to my greeting and polite, “How are you?” was to inform me vehemently that he had already had 10 bowel movements that day! Voice quality: good. Articulation: good. Semantics: good. Eye contact: good. Appropriateness: not so good.
This scene was not unusual. A nurse expressed relief upon my arrival at one facility reporting that the patient was calling for his speech therapist while announcing that his testicles hurt. I have no idea. Maybe I was a distraction from discomfort.
When scheduling patients for therapy, we often perused calendars filled with medical appointments. Many people quipped that that was their social life. So the other day after Crabby Old Aunt Pat emailed a rundown of her upcoming appointments to establish her availability for a social get-together, we did not resist lampooning her.
I could fill my calendar with medical appointments but have postponed non-urgent matters. During this pandemic, my visit to the doctor is often the only live social interaction of the week outside my home. My friend Diane was so excited to be leaving the house for an appointment that she selected her clothes the day prior. What a disappointment to be instructed to change into a gown with no one to admire her outfit.
Every body part needs some attention at this time of life. And I don’t mind my friends sharing their adventures in cataract removal, joint surgery, skin cancer treatment, etc. etc. But when people start talking about their bowels, the line to old age is crossed.
Truth be told: due to colon cancer and surgery, I do have bowel issues. Let me tell you about them. . .