Day 1 of the cleansing

  It’s been a long time since I’ve documented my days, but for the sake of something to do I thought I might risk voyeurism and share something of a travel log of my holiday at Prince of Wales hospital.

Sorry if I’m repeating myself, but to bring newcomers up to speed, I’ve been in and out of POW over the last few weeks as a result of autonomic dysreflexia brought on by bowel care gone wrong – my fault not the carers. It’s been a boring but relatively easy stay, since after going to the toilet in the morning, Ive been healthy the rest of the day. I’ve felt like an interloper on a ward full of others who actually need to be here. 

The permanent solution to my problem is a colostomy, and the operation is set for next Tuesday. In addition, my doctor wants to poke a camera all the way up to the top of the small intestine, and for that reason he wants me completely empty. So from today I have seven days of bowel preparation. Today I start a clear fluid diet, then tomorrow I take a magic potion to get things flowing. And since my bum has a mind of its own, this means 6 days in bed incontinent. I guess this means I’ll no longer be an interloper. 

So I woke to my first meal: broth (hot water with a very faint chicken flavour), orange juice, black tea, strawberry jelly. Not too bad, really, although I suspect it will get harder eating the same fare three times a day. Truth be told, it’s better then the hospital food normally tastes!

Since this was to be my last day in my chair for awhile, I went out and about and decided to get myself a shave. There is something about having a barber shave you with a cut-throat that feels deliciously decadent, since It’s an intimate, pampering, service ( is this why women get their nails done). I was shaved by “razor” Sam, a handsome Middle Eastern man with a Tattoo of a pair of scissors on his neck (I’m guessing he has no plans to change his career). Using a shaving brush, he lathered my face for about five minutes, softening the skin in preparation for the cut. He then went to work with the blade, his face so close to mine that I could smell his cologne and breath, which was fortunately minty and fresh. He managed the job without a nick. With my grey beard gone, I’ve lost 10 years of age. Elly will be pleased to hear that I’m kissable again. 

I snapped a selfie of the shave, but my poor skills are in evident by the fact that the iPhone blocks the view.

  Lunch: broth (hot water with a very faint chicken flavour), orange juice, black tea, strawberry jelly. Are you seeing the theme here?

I had a quiet afternoon, sleeping a bit and reading. I’m spending some time with Lauren McGrow’s draft manuscript, missionary positions, which is exploring Christian ministry to sex workers. Lauren is a gifted writer and a radical, so the book is great fun. I love it when past students overtake you with the quality of their work.

Dinner: broth (hot water with a very faint beef flavour), orange juice, black tea, strawberry jelly. Did you notice the variation? I’ve also been allowed to have some jelly sweets. It seems that the basis for this meal plan is sugar – nothing but sugar. I’m starting to feel a desperate need to brush my teeth after every meal.

Well, that’s about it for day one. I think I’m going to delay getting out of my chair and into bed. I’m guessing I’ll be sick of lying down in the days to come.


About Author

Shane is an ethicist and theologian, Honorary Associate for the Centre of Disability Research and Policy, the University of Sydney, and Assistant Director, Policy, at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation against People with Disability. Shane is proudly disabled, and an occasional blogger on


  • inekeculbert
    November 10, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Shane. Let’s hope this helps solve some of the problems you are having lately.

  • Andrew Mellor
    November 10, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    I’ve always wanted to get a shave with a straight blade.

    • Shane Clifton
      November 11, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Definitely recommended – Only $20

      • Ann-Elise
        November 25, 2015 at 3:32 pm

        So cheaper than a manicure 😛
        Yup, you were right, this is exactly why women get their nails done.

  • Mousa
    November 11, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Write more novel books, I was truely feeling your situations while reading! And bigger temptation to shave by a blade! 😉

  • labalienne
    November 14, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    call me sexist but beards are good for one thing…

    • Shane Clifton
      November 14, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      I’m not sure I’m game to ask what that is on a public forum!

  • Ann-Elise
    November 25, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Hi Shane,
    Is the manuscript available for anyone else to read? I have a journal article of the same name, and I assume the same author from about 4 years ago (maybe even more). Would be very interested to read if possible.

    All the best, Ann-Elise


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