Hey, have you ever pulled shit out of someone's ass? Well, my mom has! In the thanks-for-sharing category, my mom told me over dinner (what better time and place for such a tale?) that she sometimes has to "help" Mimi with her bowel movements.
Mimi, as the non-existent reader will recall, is 88 years young--as in infant. She is bent over and has dementia and says over and over that she is "screwed," among a panoply of many other problems that would delight Samuel Beckett.
"I have her eat prunes and blueberries," Mom said. "But nothing is working. Her bowels just aren't working anymore, the poor soul."
"Yeah, well..." I look around at the IHOP. Can I make a dash for the door?
"So sometimes I have to help her."
"You mean you coach her on the other side of the bathroom door? Please tell me that's what you mean."
"No, I'm in there with her. I help her."
"You help her."
"Yes, I've had to, you know, pull it out sometimes."
Deep horror, reader. After pouring my iced water over my head, I yelled at the manager to have my mom removed from the premises. Mom was placid, even proud.
"You pull it out? Are you insane?"
"She doesn't understand when I tell her to push. So I reached in and clawed out the impacted feces. I got it all out. She felt a lot better."
I winced from the unwanted image of a naked, shriveled, old woman on the toilet, her angry dilated anus and wrinkled thighs and grey, varicose-veined vagina... Jesus, take me now. And my mom on her knees crawling around and getting the shit out as if she's picking cotton in the field. Have I said she makes ten dollars an hour?
"Mom, this goes far, far, FAR beyond your job description. That should be done by an RN or someone who at least makes a lot more than you."
"So I hope you had gloves on?"
"Of course. I mean..." Mom looked away for a moment. "Most of the time I do."
"Those kind of things don't bother me."
"I think I have the ague."
"But the job gets harder and harder. How did I get into this? I was supposed to read to her, and now I'm there doing everything, paying bills, cleaning, shopping..."
"It's awful, Mom. I don't see why you don't quit." I tried to swallow my nausea.
"I love her. She's such a dear soul, you don't understand." But Mom hung her head and sighed. "But I'm so tired all the time. Just so tired."
"Don't say it, Mom."