Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dealing with body wastes and other issues - II

I was about to begin this post with a rant about how TV is turning people into zombies, about how it is reducing interaction between people,, about how it is reducing the attention span of kids...when I saw this passage by P.G. Wodehouse in A Damsel in Distress:
In as much as the scene of this story is that historic pile, Belpher Castle, in the county of Hampshire, it would be an agreeable task to open it with a leisurely description of the place, followed by some notes on the history of the Earls of Marshmoreton, who have owned it since the fifteenth century. Unfortunately, in these times of rush and hurry, a novelist works at a disadvantage. He must leap into the middle of his tale with as little delay as he would employ in boarding a moving tramcar. He must get off the mark with the smooth swiftness of a jack-rabbit surprised while lunching.Otherwise, people throw him aside and go out to picture palaces.
If Wodehouse has to get off the mark quickly, then I am left with no choice but to follow suit. Prolefeed has a peculiar hold on people, as shown in this Vadivel comedy scene. (Apparently, it helps in population control. Who knew?) It is quite a sight to see the nurses standing immobile like Midas' unfortunate daughter (or if you prefer, like Lot's disobedient wife), unable to take their eyes off the TV. This happens even if the program is in a language that they can't understand so long as it is a movie or a serial.

I once had a nurse who had an inability to keep quiet that often drove me crazy. I was once watching something on Discovery Channel. She was chattering away and I couldn't hear a word of the program. Once it showed a flock of gannets on a sea shore and she wanted to know which bird it was. She said various names in Tamil which I didn't understand. Then she said 'duck' and I blinked 'yes' hoping this would make her keep quiet. I succeeded...for all of one minute. Then the damn things started to fly and she immediately exclaimed, "But ducks don't fly!"

There was only one nurse who had no interest in watching TV but she was extremely slow. What other nurses could do in 15 min., she took an hour. This pace was not enough if I wanted to do something urgently, like pass urine. After a couple of days, I started telling the nurse about urine 10 min. before it became urgent. Sometimes when I called for passing urine, she will stare blankly at me and then continue her work. And what was she busy doing? Reading religious books! For whatever she was told, she will agree immediately by saying, 'Ida vanditten!' (just coming). There will be no sulking or arguments. The only problem was that she will take her own sweet time to come.

Jaya has to tread the fine line between annoying the nurses by constant monitoring and letting them do what they want. What was curious was that many tasks that they are required to do will be a lot less taxing than cleaning motion but the same nurses who had no problems cleaning motion will omit the simple tasks. In Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry, Roxana finally employs an ayah to take care of her bed-ridden father. There is a description of the ayah by the 14 year old son of Roxana which resonated with me.
Her name was Rekha. Mummy explained her duties and demonstrated exactly how she wanted things done, in the hygienic manner to which she and Grandpa were accustomed. Rekha followed the instructions when she was being watched. But mummy often caught her skipping steps if she came upon her without warning. Usually, it was the urinal - she would not rinse it clean each time Grandpa used it. I remember, once,Mummy  found her proceeding to fetch Grandpa's soup from the kitchen after emptying  the bedpan, not bothering to wash twice with soap and water. 
"Your toilet hands you use to carry food?" shouted Mummy. "Not even once you apply  sabun!"
"Arre bai, I forgot this time."
"I've seen you lots of times, taking shortcuts!"
Inbetween the irritations, I will feel sorry  for the nurses. All of them will have sorry tales to tell. Some will have a drunkard as a father or husband, some will be single mothers with their children in some hostel, some would have been ill-treated by a previous employer...

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