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Dots and Dashes by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity

DOTS AND DASHES by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity


Last Piece of Toilet Paper Horizontal
Only one piece left on the roll.
Greg M. Cooper

Don’t just stand there!  I wanted to scream at the caregiver who stood above me in the bathroom.  I was sitting on the toilet trying to urinate. (I sit to urinate because of my disabilities.)

But I didn’t yell.   It takes longer for a man my age to pee:  larger prostate, blocked urethra, less stretchy bladder, harder vessels, and the usual wearing out of muscles and organs.  But, I figured somewhere in their training, caregivers would have learned the urinary patterns of old men.

When you’re in your eighties, you pee in Morse Code:  dribble, dribble, flow; dribble, dribble, dribble, flow;  flow (aaah!);  etc. etc. etc.

But, it’s hard to even produce the first dribble when someone is impatiently standing over you.  Do I strain while she’s standing there? Do I try to force conversation?  Do I just sit and pretend she’s not there? It’s awkward. I feel compelled to break the silence.  And, then. Saved by the bell!   Or, really, the first tinkle of a droplet striking water. So, I politely say, “I’ll be awhile. I’ll call when I’m done.” She leaves, and I let loose – if you can call it that.


Dick Weinman lives in an Assisted Living Facility in Corvallis.


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