Mar. 16, 2020

I Was New Once, Too

I was so shy when I first started out in nursing more than thirty years ago. For the first three years, I had yet to come in contact with male genitalia. I always managed to get by unscathed. Fortunately, someone was willing to help me and do the male catheterizations, or apply creams and ointments until my friend Bonnie realized this.

She had the medicine cart parked outside of Sam’s room. Sam was a Cerebral Palsy patient and wheelchair bound. Bonnie called me over. “I need you to put this Lotrisone cream on his groin area, especially the testicular area.”

“Okay, but the CNA’s haven’t been in there to dry him yet. I’ll give this to Peggy and she can do it when they change him.”

“No, you do it,” Bonnie insisted.

“But, I have to go to first station,” I whined. “Peggy can manage this, it’s just cream.”

“That’s not the point. The point is, you need to get used to doing these things.” Bonnie turned me around and began ushering me into the room.

“But… I haven’t ever done this before!”

Bonnie smiled at me and just before she closed the door she said, “I know!”

Trying to be as professional as I could, I told Sam what I was doing, pulled the curtains, and then pulled down the sheet before putting on a pair of gloves. Without warning, Sam started to laugh and cough. The more he laughed, the more he coughed.

I stopped what I was doing and asked, “What is so funny?”

“I was just thinking… this is the closest to a virgin as I’m ever going to get,” and then he laughed some more.

That was my introduction to male genitalia. I managed it and came out a better person for it. Bonnie and I laughed about that for years, as did Sam, every time he saw me.