As I reflect over the years that I've operated as the at-home caregiver for our family, I have to admit that there are a lot of things I have learned or grown in my respect for. I thought it might be fun to take a few weeks to list some of them. Let's start with toilet bowls.
Ever thought much about your toilet bowl? Of course not.
Most people don't give much thought to this silent shrine. Contrary to popular opinion the flush toilet was invented by John Harrington not Thomas Crapper. Mr. Crapper was a plumber and a sanitary engineer and went on to become the founder of Thomas Crapper & Co. in London. And, although he advanced many technologies surrounding plumbing and toilets, I doubt he could ever imagine the extent of the items that would go into a modern day flush toilet.
Of course, everyone is familiar with the common standing and sitting contributions. Those are normal. Those wouldn't surprise ol' Thomas. But if you have kids, and really only if you have kids, do you know the other items that can fit into this convenient receptacle.
In our house over the years we've had to fish out marbles, had to sanitize hair brushes and combs, throw tiny life preservers to army men, had to fish out wads of baby wipes, dry off pictures (and sometimes the frames), re-wash some socks, and rescue nail polish to name a few. And I'm sure each of you could add items of your own to this list.
However, my experience has not taught me to be respectful of what goes into a toilet nearly as much as it has taught me to be respectful of what goes on a toilet. Because I've learned not to have respect for toilets in general but, rather, I've learned the importance of keeping a clean toilet.
At-home caregivers are keenly aware, especially at this time of year, of the main reason a sparkling clean toilet bowl is important…because it's stomach flu season. And when the face of a loved one in your family is resting on the edge of the bowl, I think all can agree there's no time more important for a clean toilet.
As you kneel before the porcelain throne in anticipation of the next wave of production, you have to admit that your eye notices all -- the underside of the seat, the often hidden underside of the lip, the waterline, the top surface of the rim, the area where the toilet connects to the floor -- and let me tell you it matters that they are clean.
Please, if you have to go through that unpleasant experience, for the love of all that is good in the world, make sure the toilet is clean! It's a terrible experience all on its own without the sights and smells of a cesspool complicating matters.
So, as the holiday season approaches, and with it the sounds of the stomach flu, learn to appreciate that silent bulwark of loving care sitting in the bathroom corner. After all, nothing says "I love you honey" in quite the same way as a clean toilet.