"An Exquisite Death"
The urine is cold and wet on my skin as it soaks through my best uniform top and slacks. "Damn it, Sherry," I curse to no one in particular. Sherry's long gone, and if Mr. Peterson hears me, he couldn't tell anyone anyway.
"That's it," I think to myself, "this is the final straw." It's bad enough that I'm on alone again tonight, bad enough that I have to do a double again because they haven't hired a new third shift aid yet, bad enough that because of this horrid, nasty job I have no life of my own whatsoever. What upsets me the most is the incompetence, the laziness, the downright selfishness. I specifically told Sherry to empty Mr. Peterson's urine bag hours ago. But, no, she left it for me to do, and now, when I finally find the time to get to it, the damn thing is too full, too heavy, and while I'm carrying it to the toilet it splits wide open, pouring its entire contents all down the front of me.
I sigh in resignation as the urine runs down my legs and into my shoes. I pull a towel from the linen cart and futilely try to sponge what I can out of my drenched clothes. Giving up, I frown in disgust as I take another bag from the cart, connect Mr. Peterson's catheter tube to it and hang it on the side of the bed.
Once I'm sure Mr. Peterson is secure and safe for the moment, I head for the laundry room in the basement, feeling my pantyhose squishing with each step. There's no way I'm going to get through the rest of the shift in these sopping wet clothes, much less wear them until eight in the morning. I figure I'll find something clean to wear temporarily while I run my clothes through the washer and dryer. I just hope there's a bar of soap down there so I can shower.
I shouldn't be surprised to find the laundry room filthy. At least a day's worth of dirty linens is just piled up on the floor. Looks like they lost another laundry guy. This place is falling apart. It was bad before they'd lost the Medicare residents, but now they don't even try to follow the state regulations.
Like me being on alone. Besides me, there's supposed to be a nurse on duty, but they won't pay a nurse's salary so they do without, knowing I can administer meds, even though I'm not supposed to. And they keep on hiring people with no training at all and they all either stop showing up after a couple of weeks or, like Sherry, don't do doodleysquat. And it's the residents who suffer.
That's the only reason I stay. There's only a few residents left, but somebody's got to take care of them. Their families don't care. Most of them don't even have families to speak of. The owners certainly don't care. And sure as heck people like Sherry don't care. So I work evenings and nights and weekends, because I care. I don't have any kind of life, because I care. Somebody's got to. I know they're taking advantage of me, but I'll get my reward in heaven. I'm not getting it here, that's for sure.
I rummage through the linen shelves and, just my luck, all I can find clean is an old, threadbare scrub top. It'll just have to do for the hour or so that my clothes were washing and drying. I don't care, I'm desperate to get these urine-drenched clothes off of me. I take off my top, slide off my slacks and throw then both into the washer. My canvas shoes, knee-highs and panties follow. I find the box of laundry soap, pour it in. I'm about to turn the machine on when I see the yellow stains on my bra. It goes in, too.
I've been alone in this laundry room at night hundreds of times, but it's still a bit unnerving to stand here naked. Before I get into the shower I start to go to the laundry room door to close and lock it, but then I remember there isn't even a doorknob on the door, just a handle, so I don't even bother closing it. After all, it isn't like anyone going to barge in. None of the residents are ambulatory and even if they were, I'd given most of them their meds and by now they're all in a heavily drugged sleep. And before evening rounds I'd secured the building. No one can get in unless I let them in, not that anyone had ever tried.
I find a fresh bar of soap and a clean washcloth, pad over to the shower stall, turn on the water and get in. Most of the urine had poured onto my abdomen and ran down my thighs, so I spend a lot of time scrubbing down there. My panties had gotten really soaked through and I'm a little worried about catching something. As I rub the lathered washcloth up and down the folds of my labia, I think cynically that, the way my life is going, getting a lap-full of urine is the only way I'll ever catch anything down there.
It takes a while but finally I start to feel clean, or at least clean enough, so I turn off the water and open the shower stall door. But, as I reach for the towel, I 'm surprised to see something suddenly moving across the room. I jump back in fright, hitting the back of the stall hard, and my arms fly up in a useless attempt to hide my nakedness. Then I start to giggle as I realize I'm staring at my own frightened reflection. Stupid place to put a mirror!
I get out of the shower and start to towel myself off, trying to avoid my image in that mirror. I don't like to look at myself naked. My butt is too big, my thighs too thick, my hips too wide, my belly too round. I really don't weigh all that much; I'm much too short for anyone to call me a "big" girl. No, I was told often enough in high school what I was: the word begins with "p" and it isn't "pretty."
When I was a little girl, I used to dream about being married and having a family but those dreams died years ago. Most boys don't even bother taking a second glance at me, and the few that do, don't have marriage on their minds. I was a "good girl" in high school. I didn't "put out" just to be "popular," I guess because I was so afraid I'd get pregnant. I wanted my babies to have a daddy who loved them and didn't leave. So now, here I was, almost twenty-two years old and still a virgin, and in all likelihood going to die that way.
I stop drying myself and look at my reflection. I used to be really proud of my breasts. They were my only decent feature. They were large but they stayed up by themselves without a bra. Now they're beginning to sag, and it's only a matter of time before my bottom begins to do the same. I've wasted the best years of my life stuck in this place. Even if by some miracle there's a boy out there who would find me attractive, he'll never find me if I spend my every waking hour cooped up in here taking care of old people and vegetables.
I know I could make a boy happy, if only one would have me. I think about that a lot when I masturbate. I have a "hair trigger" and I know boys like that. I can orgasm over and over and over. It's the only way I can get to sleep after work. It's the only pleasure I have in my life, a pleasure I've resigned myself to indulge in alone.
I don't even realize I'm rubbing myself between my legs with the towel until my body shakes in release. I've never masturbated at work before and if there'd been anyone else in the building who could have seen what I'd just done, I'd be embarrassed. But I know I'm alone. As usual.
I'm pretty much dry by now, so I throw the wet towel onto the pile of dirty linen on the floor and put on the scrub top. It's pretty short, barely covering my thighs, but it's all there is and I have to finish the evening rounds. Besides, who's going to see me, anyway? I tug at the bottom to pull it down a bit and the shoulder seam start to rip. I hope it'll stay together until my own clothes are done. But if it doesn't, who cares? What difference does it make if I finish rounds naked as a jay-bird? It isn't like there's anyone around to get repulsed at the sight of me.
"God," I think as I walk barefoot up the stairs, "I'm really depressed." I always get this way in the middle of my cycle. I can tell when I'm ovulating because I'm even quicker to orgasm then, and all I can think of is what a waste my fertility is. I was so excited when my period first came, and I used to dream about the day I'd take care of my own babies. But there'll be no babies for me. The egg now inside me will just go to waste, just like every month. In two weeks it'll be flushed out, unfertilized, and another egg would be gone, another baby that wouldn't be, month after month, year after year, until all my eggs were gone, along with every chance I'll ever have to take care of a real family instead of a bunch of slobbering invalid strangers whose piss I have to wear.
The total silence that greets me when I get to the main floor deepens my depression but brings me back to reality. I don't have time to indulge in a pity party right now. I have to finish rounds, and the first thing I have to do was clean up the mess in Mr. Peterson's room. I decide that when I get home in the morning, I'll have a good cry and then masturbate until I totally exhaust myself. My mood brightens a bit as I open to door to the janitor's closet to get the mop and pail. At least I have something to look forward to.
Mr. Peterson is exactly the way I left him in his drugged out "sleep." The "on-call" doctor believes in "preventative medication," so four times a day all the residents get a shot of thorazine, so even if they weren't vegetables when they got here, they end up that way. Less work for the doctor, less worry for the owners, and more work for the aids. Especially if there's no nurse on shift.
.... There is more of this story ...