The Smell that Melted My Basement

So often in medicine, we forget that the person in the bed has more in their life than being a patient.

I see people on what may potentially be the worst day of their lives.  With the random exceptions (“hey, I took a pregnancy test at home and it was positive, but can you run one on me as well to be sure that it’s positive?), most in the ER had something pretty crappy happen to them to get them in that bed. They are also fathers, mothers, teachers, workers, and all of them would like to be living their normal lives outside of the ER.

Recently my wife had to be admitted. I’m not going to tell you what she had, instead, I will look up her symptoms onWebMD… she had either Lyme disease or post-concussive syndrome. Neither weren’t on my differential.  Not a big surprise considering there were no ticks for Lymes and she never got hit in the head, but who am I to disagree with WebMD.

Anywho, wifie was sick for a few days. And, not to brag, I think I managed the house quite well while she was gone.

I mean, it’s not like it burned to the ground.

Nothing happened, right? Right???


The first thing my (still pretty sick) wife says the instant she steps into the house is “Gah! What is that awful smell?”

We looked around a bit and didn’t see anything amiss. I didn’t smell anything.

I told her she was crazy and we went to bed.

Spoiler alert: she’s not crazy.

Fast forward to one day later.

I’m in the basement running on the treadmill. I get off the treadmill and head to the bathroom to pee.

What awaited me in the bathroom looked like something out of the Walking Dead. Sewage back-up overflowing from both the toilet and shower onto the floor creating a silt-line of turbulent feces covering everything in sight.  The smell of 1000 old craps, decomposing flushed fish, and rotted terror assaulted my brain.  Using my fast thinking skills I did what any good man does in such a situation.

I shut the door.

I then looked for a plunger, but (luckily) couldn’t find one. My wife heard me in my frantic search and informed me that I couldn’t plunge 50 gallons of semi-solid nightmare fuel away. So we made some calls and eventually got the whole thing cleaned up… by someone else.


The cleaner people then visited and scoped out the basement.  Then they asked if the wood floor in the basement always bowed like that. Uh, no. Not so much. Yep, that’s poo-water under all the floors. Oh well.

So what did I learn?

  1. Always (ALWAYS) trust the wife’s nose.  It’s better than yours.
  2. Something can always go wrong, so appreciate it when things are going right.
  3. Always be kind, because you never know what type of day someone might be having.
  4. Poop’s always funny, but it’s funnier when it’s not your poop.

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