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