We’re dropping off an older man with chronic diarrhea at the ED. He’s not bedridden, but he wears a hospital gown at home and is diapered. His assigned nurse enters the room, and right away I can tell she’s squirrely. She is wearing normal scrubs.
“Before he gets in bed, can you guys change his gown and take his diaper off?”
Considering the diarrhea, that seems to be a rather strange request at this point in time. His diaper doesn’t smell, doesn’t seem to be overflowing, and there is no commode in the room.
“Are you sure? The diaper keeps the mess contained. Do you have a fresh diaper?”
“Everything off, please.”
Changing patients at the hospital is not my job, but if the staff is cool, I have no problem helping them. This time, it’s not that I want to help this particular nurse, and I have absolutely no obligation to, but I feel bad for the patient.
So the patient is standing next to his bed, holding onto the railing. We change his gown, and pull his diaper off.
“Ohh, I have to go…”
Of course, right after the diaper comes off. A small amount of watery diarrhea hits the floor with a splat. It doesn’t really faze us. We’ve seen and smelled so much worse.
But it apparently fazes the nurse, who disappears in a flash from the room.
We set some towels down and wipe the poop off the man’s legs.
A couple of minutes later, someone walks briskly into the room looking like this:
Carrying towels, a huge stack of chux and a commode, this person goes, dead serious, “You know, norovirus is going around.”
It’s our nurse.
“Yeah, I know. That’s every winter.”
She covers the hospital bed from top to bottom with chux.
It’s a little late for that.