It’s a Shit Job!
On one of my more significant birthdays, (I think it might have been the 30th), my wife Roza prepared a delicious family dinner and themed birthday party. I was having a great time, when the kids announced that they had collaborated on writing some Grammen (a Yiddish word for a humorous, often rhyming, limerick or song) about me that they wanted to perform. I don’t recall the song details, other than it being amusing, but I clearly remember it ended with words about them having to tell their friends that their dad sells diapers.
I remember feeling mortified, as I projected my personal, inferiority complex on to my kids and thought that they must feel ashamed, because I sold diapers.
The truth is, that I was, at times embarrassed at the thought of making a living and spending my time in the pee and poop business…
At a recent family Shiva, my wife’s uncle, tearfully, asked her to convey his undying appreciation to me.
His mother had been physically incapacitated for the better part of the previous three years. Since a stroke, the once proud and vibrant matriarch, had been sadly confined to a bed or chair, cruelly trapped with an active mind in an ailing body.
Since the stroke, my uncle and aunt, and indeed their entire family, had spent every single day, surrounding her with 24 hours a day and 7 days a week of loving care and undivided attention.
He related to my wife, that early on, given my experience in working with the geriatric and chronically ill, I had apparently provided the family with some clarity and guidance regarding the optimal medical equipment and supplies that they would need for her care.
Apparently, when she was ultimately admitted to hospital, for what would sadly be her last time, the Doctor was astounded at the state of her skin. He commented that he had rarely, if ever, seen a person, at that age, who had been in such a sedentary state for so long, present with skin so supple.
Her uncle was convinced, that aside from the tender attention of her caregivers and family, much of the credit for her living so much longer, without infection and with healthy skin, was attributable to the brand of diapers that I had suggested they switch to, after the initial product that she had been discharged with from the nursing home, had left her with festering bed sores and painful excoriation.
Spending the better part of my career immersed in Post-Acute Skilled Nursing and Long-Term Care, I had always appreciated that disposable incontinence products, or absorbent hygiene products, as the industry now terms it, represented one of, if not, the highest profile spend category in a healthcare provider's cost of goods.
As such, I spent countless hours, delving into in all aspects of the supply chain, including sourcing the raw materials, partnering with manufacturers throughout the world, studying the features and benefits of each product type, as well as developing an expertise in the nuances of multi market segment distribution, along with the clinical benefits for the patients, their healthcare provider, and the ways in which these products are reimbursed by payors.
Many of my close friends are industry leaders who are proud bastions of high-quality absorbent hygiene. These often, unheralded professionals, fully respect the restoration of dignity that their product can provide, and the many, significant health benefits of correct product choice and use.
And so, now that it has hit so close to home, I no longer feel the stigma of having been a diaper dealer. I may have worked in the shit business, but it no longer feels that crappy!