Hardly enough

How A Loaded Diaper Ended My Nursing Career

Tony Pretlow


Changing baby diapers was a real challenge for me. The ones containing only urine were no problem. But

when it came to the loaded ones, after one whiff, I would gag. I have an acute sense of smell. I have zero tolerance for certain odors.

My wife thought I was faking, until she saw it repeatedly for herself. Salvation came when all the kids were potty trained.

When the kids became school aged, I enrolled in nur- sing school. I was doing well. A nursing career seemed well within reach.

At the completion of the second semester, I was at the top of my class.

When off-sight rotations started, I was sent to an assisted living center down the street from the school. It was convenient and after several weeks of mundane tasks, we broke off from pairs and were assigned individual patients.

We were responsible for caring for a patient the entire day.

On my first day, I was assigned to an elderly man. I was told he needed to be

turned over.

Eagerly, I approached his room. The smell of defecation met me at the door. My gag response was immediately triggered.

My first thought was that the toilet had not been flushed. I put on some gloves and a surgical mask.

After a few steps it was clear the smell was coming from the bed. That set off three gags in rapid succession.

I staggered towards the bed and turned back the covers. His diaper was down and diarrhea wet feces was soaking the bed.

Horrified, I gagged and violently vomited into the mess.

Telling no one, I quietly exited the building. I realized I could not be a nurse.

I drove to the nursing school and requested a withdrawal. I declined to give the real reason.

Career wise, I had to decide what came next. In the meantime, I slept in scrubs and slowly paid off my nursing school loan.

I have not seen a diaper since, but I still gag easily.



Tony Pretlow

Passionate. Dedicated reader and commenter. Occasional writer. I enjoy writing poems that rhyme. Father of five. Happily married/retired. Northwestern U. Alum