Tag Archives: Nurse Jiggy

Sponge Bath

Nurse Jiggy

People ask me all the time what it’s like being a male nurse.  Sure, traditionally we have come to expect women to perform this role.  For the most part, they do it very well. They provide kisses on boo-boos (I apologize in advance for the use of technical medical terminology).  They can single-handedly change a diaper, whether on an infant or elderly man, faster than a locomotive on nitro boosters.  They provide tenderness and support at the most critical moments of life and death. In fact, when modern nursing was founded in the mid-19th century, women of every walk of life, including prostitutes, were encouraged to become nurses.  You see, women know exactly how to care for others in their most desperate moments.  Woman are not afraid to touch parts of the body most people won’t go near when they know it’s to help them relieve pain or stress.  However, in recent years the nursing profession has changed.  Men are now stepping into these once female-dominant roles and making a major impact.  Men are finding themselves in all sorts of positions (stay with me, I’m still talking about nursing).  Men can change diapers, give hugs when needed, and insert a urinary catheter into man or woman if it will help relieve bladder tension.  Men are not even below assisting in the delivery of babies, even if it means getting elbows-deep into vaginas.  (On a side note, during my schooling, I was privileged to see a few vaginal births and let me say that I have a newfound appreciation for the female genitalia.  I always understood that it had other purposes than to simply fulfill my basic needs.  It’s both magnificent and monstrous.  But I’m getting off topic.)

Being a male nurse exposes me to a world most men don’t get to see, and for many reasons this is not necessarily a bad thing.  See, I work the night shift just three days a week.  It’s a pretty sweet deal because it means each week I have off more days than I’m working.  I make decent money; however, some would say that we are underpaid.  And there are many reasons I would agree with this, but we don’t do this for the money. Even though I’m on my feet most of the time, incessantly running from patient room to patient room medicating and re-medicating, the shifts go by rather quickly.  By the way, did I mention that I’m the only male nurse on my unit at night?  This is both a plus and negative.  Women love having male nurses on the floor.  We help pull patients up in beds with very little effort.  We intervene when elderly, confused patients are being combative.  And as the one male nurse on night shift, we are useful as punching bags for the times our female colleagues are having relationship problems, which is most of the time.  What other job allows a man to work around a ton of beautiful, bossy women for 12 hours at a time who are all coincidentally on their period at the same time?  But once again, I digress.

The best part of being a male nurse is that we get to give sponge baths to our patients. Anyway, these are not real sponge baths.  They are more like baths in the bed.  We bring a wet washcloth with soap and sometimes warm water.  This mostly depends on how nice you have been to us whether we wait for the faucet water to warm up or not.  Oh, I know what you’re thinking.  I’ve seen the all that glamorous porn where the male patient is in bed agonizing over his ailment and the female nurse, or depending on what type of porn you’re into, the male nurse comes into the patient’s room and . . . BOING (queue the brown-chicken-brown-cow music in the background).  The point is I have never given a gorgeous female patient a bath.  Usually the younger the patient, the sicker they are.  Now, morbidly obese women, that’s a different story.  I’m not going to get into that at this juncture.  Another tangent for another time.

Typically it’s your mid-50-year-old men who think they are too sick to reach their own groin or wipe their own ass.  These are usually guys who have been admitted for pancreatitis or just had the gallbladder taken out . . . or worse!  They are post-operative for an emergency appendectomy.  Men are the biggest babies when they’re sick.  But I’m a professional.  I will happily go get you that Percocet or Vicodin you need to soothe your pain, but there’s no way I’m washing your member, pal.  This isn’t the Hilton, and I’m not your hospital escort service.  I’m a male nurse . . . a murse.  Look, I’m not above bathing someone who is incapable, like some of the elderly or a paraplegic.  I think it’s fundamentally important for the recovery process.  But there is no way I’m washing a guy who can easily use the clicker to call me into the room.  I say, if you can reach your own penis, you can wash it yourself.  I’ll hand you the washcloth with soap but that’s as far as I’m going.  Heck, I’ll even tell you a story about Hansel and Gretel if we have time.  Maybe next time you call me in for a sponge bath, I’ll come in with a urinary catheter and an enema instead.  We’ll assume you need help voiding and a good colon cleanse as well while we are at it.

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The gift of Influkwanzaa

Nurse Jiggy

“Come before me in the cold, like a wet swaddling baby wrapped in thin blankets, and I will lay upon you something that will keep you still and silent for days,” the saying goes.

(I like to imagine this saying pronounced by alpha man Tony Soprano, from the ever-popular Italian-American mobster drama The Sopranos. This same show starred the recently deceased James Gandolfini, who, in my opinion, could have easily played a villain in Ace Ventura if another sequel was ever made again. However, I digress. The man is dead.)

This is the perfect time of year to reflect upon a more intriguing didactic declaration than during this God-giving season. It’s the most wonderful time of year: The visiting of family and friends. Gatherings taking place in front of mantles. A time to clink our glasses of sweet libation and indulge in delightful-smelling foods like figs and pudding and figgy pudding. An occasion that asks us to be more thoughtful than the year before. It’s a season where we comfortably expose our quiet laughter and joyous breath to one another as we exchange warmth and love through as much physical contact that is legally permissible in public. A time of giving!

I come to you not as another celebratory confidante but as a giver of gifts. A gift giver, as the polite Red District Amsterdam residents would say. I’m a healthcare professional, a R.N. No, it doesn’t stand for registered nut. It stands for Nurse Jiggy.

Working as a nurse in a hospital allows me the luxury to be exposed to a multitude of microorganisms, especially during the colder months. Therefore, let’s celebrate this year with the gift that festers for days, or possibly for at least 12 days, fa la la la la la la la la. Happy Influkwanzaa!

Do you remember when it was polite for someone to offer a used handkerchief to someone with a runny nose? That was the 1970s. Let’s get back to that. We don’t share any more like we once did. “Hey, would you like a sip of my bubbly champagne or chilled Bailey’s Irish Cream that I’ve poured for a toast? Go ahead, take a swig.”

Wait, I know what you’re thinking. “Can’t I get herpes from that?” No, you can’t, because I don’t have herpes. I have an active cold sore. There’s a big difference. But you know what I might have? I might have the flu. Maybe it’s Influenza A or maybe it’s B. Maybe it’s Influenza plus another letter of the alphabet. I don’t know, and I don’t care. Let us find out together. We could create a superbug, a super virus—maybe a deficiency in our human immunity that will allow the flu to live longer in us. We could refer to it as a human immunodeficiency virus. But you know what? That’s a lot of jargon. So let’s shorten it to an acronym and name it HIV.

Do not be afraid! I became a medically trained professional so if you get dehydrated due to copious amounts of undigested vomit and diarrhea or lose consciousness, I will take care of you. I don’t mind wiping you from end to end with one quick sweep, utilizing the same washcloth as not to be wasteful and more environmentally responsible, of course. You can be confident that if you’re gasping for air, because you’re lungs are drowning with infection, I’ve been trained to suction you so you can breathe better. I am Nurse Jiggy and this is my favorite holiday. I won’t let anything bad happen to you on my watch.

What time is it? It’s time to celebrate this Influkwanzaa together. I want to crawl in your hospital bed with you when you’re feeling “under the weather.” Will you let me do that? We don’t have to cuddle. I just want to be your blanket. Please don’t mind those snot-dried tissues that are on the floor. We won’t be reusing them. We have a handkerchief from the 1970s. Don’t be concerned. What is coming from your nose is thick and green, true, but only because that’s the color mucus turns when it hits the air. I just cleaned the floor two weeks ago with Pine Sol. Go ahead. Walk barefoot across the room. Then, throw those gummy vitamin C tablets and antipyretics down the toilet. Embrace your illness naked, cold, and wet, the way it was intended to be celebrated. I love you. How else can I show you? I just want to kiss you with my mouth. But first…cough, cough, hack, hack. Sorry, maybe it’s the pepper steak I ate for dinner from the Chinese restaurant on the corner of Market and 5th. Suddenly, I don’t feel so well. Now that’s Influkwanzaa.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will have you believe that influenza can kill you. That’s only true if you’re under the age of two or older than 65. But before I go on, how is that acronym even remotely correct? Shouldn’t it be CDCP? Maybe it’s because the CDC doesn’t want “Prevention.” Think about that for a minute while the government is in complete shutdown. Oh snap…and clap. Let’s begin the festivities of the season by choosing to say “no way, lazy CDC who can’t even add a P.” I’m not getting the flu vaccine, and neither should you. The government would have us believe that Influkwanzaa isn’t worth celebrating. The CDC recommends all of us, especially those most at risk (like Nurse Jiggy), to get vaccinated for the flu every year. But to date there’s still no vaccination for Lyme’s disease, which is far more debilitating. Oh, but wait! I can get the Lyme’s vaccine for my dog, but not for myself? Well, then, give my dog a flu shot! Hold up. There’s no flu shot for my dog? This doesn’t make any sense. You know how many people get Lyme’s each year? A lot. Do you know how many dogs get the flu? That’s just it! Nobody knows. (I assure you, however, that a dog’s nose knows).

Before we try to defeat the flu, picture this for a second: Under a microscope influenza appears to look like Droopy, an animated anthropomorphic dog with a droopy face and long beautiful ears. I’ve seen it. Therefore, in a very real way, we are killing people. Destroying human likeness? Isn’t that killing? Killing is illegal. I rest my case.

We should crowd together in open protest. Stand, filthy, hand-to-hand, our wet hair glistening in the frost of the cold winter months with coats unzipped, swaying back and fro in a large circle around a pine tree, singing, “Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze”. We should allow spit to flow from our mouths and cough our words of loyal dissent on Capital Hill. If one person infects even one small child, then that recently infected asymptomatic child could attend schoolyard playgrounds giving eight of those children that come into contact a small gift that can be given to eight more children for every child that it was originally given, ad infinitum—an epidemic of Influkwanzaa in our schools and, later, in our communities. I am Nurse Jiggy and I’m keeping the spirit of the season alive. Won’t you join in with me? Shall we not heed the words of another well-unknown author who most likely said, “Touch the lives of every person you come into contact. Allow your lips to penetrate their lips so that we may pass on the gift of love and whatever else comes from the mouths of the degenerate.”