Most caregivers can talk about body fluids and functions with a total sense of disconnect. It is a bit like when I was an OT student in the 80’s. We would dissect human cadavers in late afternoon as part of an anatomy lab and then bolt a brown bag dinner down on our way to an anatomy lecture. Experiences that might rattle many somehow became commonplace and didn’t “phase” us after a while. People who are caregivers, either for pay, or in family settings, often become immune to the “ick” factor associated with body fluids and functions.
There are six people who live in my home – my husband, me, Matthew, his two teenaged brothers, and our live-in nanny who assists with Matthew’s care and ought to be nominated for sainthood. We tend to be a busy bunch and often don’t all connect until dinnertime. In our house dinner is at 6:30pm and we usually eat together. It is very rare that we don’t. As such, dinnertime is usually a time when we all chat about our day and get updated. One thing that usually comes up is whether Matthew has pooped. Without going into all sorts of medical details, I will simply share that making sure Matthew has pooped is a big deal. If he hasn’t we get concerned. Not pooping can put Matthew in the ER and hospital.
One day we were sitting down to dinner, and like usual I asked Carol our live-in nanny and my alter-ego whether Matthew had pooped on her watch since he hadn’t on mine. All at once my two other teenaged boys dropped their forks and exclaimed in utter frustration, “can we not have ONE dinner, JUST ONE DINNER, where we don’t talk about Matthew’s poop!!!”. “We are such a weird family!!”.
My husband, being the ultimate problem solver (he is a lawyer after all), calmly announced that yes, tonight we would refrain from any conversation about Matthew’s poop. Rather, tonight at the dinner table, we would talk about particularities of his poop.
I don’t think I can physically complete the eye-roll that my other two teenaged boys performed.