• Dr. Nader Amer

I gotta PEE

Home Health Story #3

I hope people are enjoying these stories. Positive and concerning responses from my chihuahua army post, but I am fine! I am scared of dogs but still like them once I get to know them. This post is about the current challenges that anyone who works on the road during the pandemic.

In general home health clinicians struggle with multiple obstacles, but during these times the biggest non-clinical struggle I found is finding a restroom while on the road. Clinicians usually have certain towns, cities, regions, or area codes assigned to them upon hiring making them very familiar within their "zone". Most clinicians have favorite coffee shops, gas stations, free Wi-Fi hotspots, and BATHROOMS they frequent on a daily basis. All day you are driving around treating from home to home drinking coffee/soda, drinking water, and eating with the end result of having to find a bathroom on the road.

The main focus and issue I have on the road is finding a quality establishment for my bathroom needs. It's not like its an everyday occurrence, but I, like many others, like to use a restroom in peace and cleanliness. I have made a chart of my go-to best/worst bathroom locations to use on the road based on my "research." Followed up by a couple stories that I have encountered with business about using their facilities during the pandemic.

Times are tough so a lot of running into establishments franticly looking for something to use is becoming more frequent. The pandemic has required me to adjusted my fluid intake and diet to accommodate the new closings, but there are things you cannot control. These are those stories!

Hotel pit stop (April 2020)

After a tough night of sleep I decided to go on morning run for a pick me up. It ended up being a run/walk because I was just feeling blah. I decided for an extra healthy breakfast of diet coke and water. The caffeine is a diuretic thus giving me the sense of urgency before I even made it to my new and first patient of the days home. It was in new address and zone causing a conundrum of where to go. The closest and easiest place was the Hampton Inn hotel. I park and walk up to the motion-censored sliding door and nothing. The hotel clerk comes to the other side of the door and asks where's my hotel keycard. I responded that I just need to the restroom, and she states new policy that no one is allowed in unless you're a paying or registering guest. I pleaded to let me in and she apologized while turning me away. Disappointed, I understood she was just doing her job, turned around looking for other ideas, and noticed a typical bottom of the barrel gas station, so you know it was a sketchy bathroom. I then ran to my car pocketed my hand-sanitizer and ran across the street to use it. I had to ask the attendant for the key which was attached to a long PVC pipe that I assumed had not been sanitized since its creation. I grabbed it ran to the restroom and the below GIF describes what I encountered.

Assisted Living Facility (ALF) pit stop (June 2020)

I check in at an ALF with the new regulations of temperature check, COVID-19 questionnaire, and ultimately increased person to person contact. I frequent this ALF, because of the demographic,. I treated my last patient of the day in the facility and began walking out. I began to worry since it is rush hour now and I probably would be stuck in traffic on the way home, I decided to use the restroom before heading back. I walked to the lobby restroom and the door was locked, stunned and disappointed, I asked my friend working the front desk. She stated that they just started locking them because of new policies in place, but I could use my patients personal restrooms. That is not an option for me, I try my hardest not to ask to use anyone's bathroom because of sounds and noises. Not fully understanding the infection control theory behind this policy since I just finished a questionnaire and temp check stating I was in obvious peak physical condition, I just left. In traffic 20 minutes later I kept sipping my water bottle out of boredom and ending up holding my urge in for the last 30 minutes of the drive. It was a near reset on my life decisions with a sprint to unlock my front door and the bathroom.

Moral of the stories: I hate the pandemic, still.

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