The Bathroom

The main bathroom at the unit was an aircraft hanger of a place made from a pair of large bedrooms knocked together. It was of Romanesque proportions, with the toilet, washbasin and specialist lifting equipment dotted around distant walls, and a huge bath occupying centre stage. ‘The hoist’ (as we called the lifting equipment) was occasionally wheeled out to swing the larger residents around the room like Peter Pan at the theatre, but this was generally for the benefit of staff members who wanted to demonstrate their skills to students, or for histrionic patients who had decided against walking.
The toilet was the purest form of grotesquery the unit had to offer. It would often contain two different evacuations of faeces, together with a garish soup of fetid yellow urine and phlegm. Sometimes blood from piles and periods would be added to the melange and – if we were really lucky – there might be an entire toilet roll floating gaily on top. However, it was much more likely that the toilet paper wouldn’t be used at all, while the toilet handle probably remained the cleanest thing in the entire unit. It was rarely touched.
Interestingly, a combination of warm water and unusual exercise would frequently stimulate a sluggish bowel into belated action, so the bath itself would also double as a toilet. For that reason, a residual brown sludge traditionally occupied the bottom of the tub; mysteriously reforming after every rinsing attempt.
The contents of the U-bend were best left unimagined…


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