Hansel's unpublished trail

A small little boy stepped into my office complaining of a stomachache. I ran through the usual questions: did you eat (yes), have you had something to drink (yes), do you feel like you have to go to the bathroom (not sure). I asked when he last went and got "I have had diarrhea and it smells really bad." At the mention of the d word I told him to go (now!) and try again. Unfortunately, the bathroom is right there in my office. He wasn't in there for 30 seconds when the door swung wide upen. I turned to hear him - pants down and underwear up - exclaim, "The diarrhea smells really bad!" And he was right.... Despite the poor acuity of my worst sense, there was no mistaking the odor of fresh poop.

As luck would have it, he didn't know his phone number, so I told him to stay standing while I ran - literally - to get his emergency contact card. I brought it back and handed him the phone while I started dialing. It was a frantic race: me dialing, him doing an increasingly fast potty dance - more was coming! We went through all five of his contacts, including home/cell/work for two of those, and no one answered. Not knowing what else to do, I started dialing from the top again, with mom's cell. I've never felt such relief for a phone to be answered, and she said she'd be on her way immediately.

The odor was now consuming my stifling office, so I suggested he go get his belongings in class. The teacher obviously wanted him in her room as much as I wanted him in my office, because he was soon back and paced the hallway until his mom came. I opened the windows in my office (thankfully it was my office with windows), thinking I had narrowly escaped a huge mess when a teacher popped into my office to ask me to identify "something" in the hallway. Yes... It was poop. I looked up the hall where they boy had been pacing and an unmistakable trail of poop smears traced his path.

Thank goodness for janitors.

1 comment:

  1. love these posts about real nursing and real life