When is the first time you saw your father’s penis? Do you remember. I bet you do.
My memory of the trauma that is seeing a parents nether regions exposed was in hospital and it was all rather traumatic, on many levels. On that occasion he had a drip coming out if his arm and was desperate to pull it out, not understanding why he couldn’t get away from the bed. And I can’t even remember why but he started to undress (out of hospital clothes and trying to put his old ones on, I think) and it was all rather strange, what I would once describe as a true carer moment for me.
I used to think of a carer as someone who helped people go the loo and get changed. I am sure that’s part of the job for sure but my opinions have certainly changed.
So to get to my point! We went out yesterday and for someone that doesn’t shower alot myself (yes I said it hahah) I could tell my old man really, really needed to shower. At the time it wasn’t going to happen. After hearing it took the staff 5 days last time to get him into the shower, I would not let it be happening again. So that day we potted around town about, got him another shave and headed back to his.
Now on the new day that was Father’s day, I was going to be prepared. I rang the home at 7.30am saying I would get there for 8.30 and help get him in the shower. She seemed to think that time was quite late, but I can tell you right now that’s too early for me. Apparently they were also understaffed so I knew straight away I would be making him shower with no help whatsoever.
I land and he is sitting in the front room watching telly after breakfast, I get him up the stairs to his room and say ”Right father, you are not going to like me for this but today you are getting a shower.’
I find the shower gel and he had a towel robe thingy bobby, which wasn’t his but I took what I could get to face this challenge. I put the shower cream down as he was getting changed and then I couldn’t find it again. My fathers complaining none stop getting unchanged and I am looking everywhere for this cream. I knew I just had it and I thought this must be only a small part of what it feels like for him everyday. He then gets fed up and starts putting his clothes on (that he wore yesterday which of course at this stage is fully but also the trousers had no fly zip.) He can’t get a shower without bloody shower fell, so I say to him ”Right father, the challenge is we need to find the white plastic bottle about this big, can you help me.’
He says what about this and pulls out a small travel size bottle of shower cream, which wasn’t the exact bottle I was looking for but just what I needed. He looked very chuffed with himself, little did he know that was helping me get him in the shower.
I go ask someone for some towels and then just coerce him to the shower room, with all his clothes on instead of trying to get him undressed in his room. At this stage I really am just making it up as I go along. It’s a big bathroom with a walk-in shower and I go straight to locking the door and fiddling with the shower.
I am thinking – Right what the hell do I do now, do I have to literally wash him? How do I show him what I expect, he must know how to shower himself… Right?
Get the shower on and say, come on then get your clothes off, I am not looking. He says ” I don’t care’ while huffing and puffing. But I can tell you now I do, I don’t want to see my father naked. How do I get the soap from the bottle to all his body in a washable kinda fashion? I wet a flannel and get lots if soap in it and rub it all together ready for him to get it.
He mumbles away that everyone will of already got showered and it’s too late, and argh why is he doing this, all while I face the other way. Once he is in, I explained I want him to rub this all over himself while looking away or directly at his head thinking to myself pleaasseeee don’t catch a site if anything I don’t want to see.
He showers aways, I look the other direction and wait for him to say he is done. I am not looking to check he is washing ”properly’ I just see movement out the corner of my eye so I know he isn’t just standing there refusing otherwise I really don’t know what I would have done. Thankfully he says done, turns the shower off and I am already waiting to wrap him the towel dressing gown. Grabbing a towel I gently pat his face to dry him and rub his hair gently. Meanwhile he grabs it from me and goes hell for leather on his face and head. He holds the extra towels and I grab his clothes and back to his room we go.
After 2 weeks ago where he didn’t have any socks, I start to panic, what if he had no clean underwear! I haven’t thought this far ahead. Pull his draws back and you will find effectively the contents of your bits and bobs draw with all sorts, and thankfully one pair of undies. Praise the Lord. Genuinely.
He still has the socks I got him there too so new socks, clean undies, and I picked up a rather snazzy pair of jeans in the charity shop for 3 quid the day before. Grab a clean shirt, and again a whole new man. No more mention of the trauma I just subjected him to, and he was quite content in clean clothes.
And all this happened before 9 o’clock. I don’t even get to work for 9 hahaha.
It has been a long day today, with lots if great moments but he always surprises me with a mix of sweet and sad moments around his capacity to just be a functioning member of society. Saying loudly in church ”Can we go yet’ yes he was crying with laughter 5 mins before as he was enjoying himself so much. The fact I sometimes need to treat him like a child yet he is the man that raised me.
Happy father’s day Dad. I will always meet you where you are at and be consistently thankful for it, even if that is dragging you to take a shower ❤️