The Pan

I remember thinking to myself, “I will never use the toilet again by myself for as long as I live.”  There I was, seven months into my yearlong stand in the hospital. I was well enough to be awake, and get out of bed, but not well enough to go to the bathroom on my own. Since I was still excreting so much bile a day, I was constantly calling the nurses. I was using the bathroom so many times that the nurses decided that it would be easier if I used a bed pan every time I had to go to the bathroom.

Constant urgency to use the bathroom

Morally, it was terrible. I know that I was weak and my muscles in my butt were not strong. I was twenty-one years old, and I was upset. I was embarrassed and hurt. Emotionally, it took a toll. It was just another thing that I had to get used to. I wasn’t ready to do this nasty task. I wasn’t ready at all.

My urgency to use the bathroom wasn’t too bad, but every time I would have to go to the bathroom, it would be a process to get out of bed to the bathroom or the commode.

Using a bedpan while in the hospital for Crohn's

The bedpan was not appeasing. A piece of cheap plastic in the shape that seemingly fits around my buttocks. In order to get the pan under me, I had to lift my body in the air and sit on top of the pan. The pan would actually pinch my skin and cause such irritation. Once I got the pan underneath me and went to the bathroom, I would have to take my other hand to grab the roll of toilet paper. I would have to position my body up in the air again to clean myself. I then had to balance my body even more to grab the pan and place the soiled paper into the pan.

I then would sit back down into the bed would get dirty because I wasn’t able to really clean myself. Then I would push the button to call the nurse to clean out the pan. The process would start all over again.

I would use the pan a few times a night. To keep myself even cleaner, the nurses would place a pad underneath me and just change it out every time I used the bathroom.

Memories of this horrible experience

This went on for a few months. Just like riding a bike, I got really good at it. Oh, let me just add that I would use hand sanitizer to clean my hands. I was able to grow out of using the bedpan, but the memories still are real. Every time I see one, I cringe, as the memories come back oh so quickly. Going even further, if I am cleaning myself in the shower, I swear there is an imprint of the pan on my backside. It might be there, or it’s just my imagination. Whatever it is, the feeling serves as a distant memory of the horrible experience I encountered.

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