I have already mentioned Simpson ward. A male orthopaedic unit with perhaps 18 beds on either wall of an open ward. Needless to say, young student nurses and (some) young male patients made for interesting shifts.
It was an evening shift, perhaps 9:30pm… supper was done, all the visitors had left, and we were to prepare the patients for sleepytime! Back in 1972, the routine on this ward was that at certain ‘key’ times of the day, the lower echelons of nurses (us) had to wheel around a metal trolley especially made so as to provide carriage of male urinals……….. glass urinals… about 20 of them! I was happy to be working with Marion, a classmate of mine who was a lovely girl with a great sense of humour.. We were to go to each bedridden patient and ask if they wanted a urinal. When we had finished giving out the glass receptacles, we were then to go back and collect the filled urinals and place them back into the trolley and go back to the sluice room from whence they came;
of course we then had to empty and clean each bottle in the sluice and put them back.
Marion and I had finally collected all the ‘used’ urinals and were wheeling the trolley out of the ward (it was a heavy son-of-a-gun), when somehow it got caught on an uneven part of the ward floor. As we tried to negotiate the trolley, it seemed like slow motion when this heavy trolley tipped and went crashing to the floor, along with most of the ~ did I say they were glass~ urinals!! A loud crashing sound, broken glass and urine all over the floor!! There was a second of horrified silence and then most of the patients started to laugh loudly!!!
How embarrassing for Marion and I, as we got the broom, the mop, the bucket of cleaning solution, the bin, and started to clean up!!! I think there were about 10 urinal casualties, and the staff nurse was not exactly laughing as she spoke about the mess and the loss of ‘equipment’!!
Well, those guys got a good dose of treatment that evening as they say ‘laughter is the best medicine’!!