Desperate times…

A quick warning on the following post.  If you aren’t into ‘potty humor,’ you may just want to sit this one out.  Or scroll to the bottom, check out a few pics, and be on your way.  Ok, you have been warned…

So, anyone who knows me well knows that I have a somewhat bizarre interest in human excrement.  Well, now that I think of it, not just human;   Deer, elk, horse, cow.  Not a big fan of cat or dog poo, especially when I inevitably step in it, or the dog eats some kitty-roca and then gives me a big sloppy cat-dung kiss.  But I’m not gonna lie, I really like the smell of horse poop.  It brings back good memories of playing in pastures as a kid, building forts in the barn with my brother.  Top five smells:  fresh ground coffee beans, the pages from an old book, alpine fir trees in the mountains, Heidi, and horse poo.

One would think I would have become a gastroenterologist (a doctor of guts), as interested in poo as I am.  Luckily, being in primary care medicine still affords me many opportunities to ask people about their stool:  “So, tell me about the size, consistency, and texture of your feces.  ‘But doc, I’m here for a broken arm… ‘   Yes.   I know.  Don’t tell me my business kid, now just tell me about your damn poop.”

At any rate, a few weeks ago Heidi and I were at the Honduras-to-Miami shipping company office, to pick up some packages.  It’s actually called “Dip-shipping,” which is kind of a funny name, because, you know, if you put ‘t‘s in where the ‘p‘s are, it would be naughty.  Anyway, I had that overpowering urge to drop the kids off at the pool, so I politely asked the nice lady at the front desk, ‘Donde está el Bano?!’ in my loudest gringo accent.  In my mind,  a needle scratched across an old vinyl record as the whole place went dead silent, and all eyes fixed upon the white dude who obviously had to go poo-poo.  The pleasant young lady directed me to the back corner of the small office.  I squeezed my way through the cramped quarters, past brown cardboard boxes stacked high, and least 7 “disculpeme’s” along the way.   I made it into the bathroom, clicked the sketchy looking lock, and made my way to the promised land.

Now, Honduran plumbing is such that most public toilets I’ve encountered are not suited to accepting paper.  Or even very firm stool, for that matter.  Which is kind of ironic, because a steady diet of tortillas, bananas, and corn chips doesn’t do much for one’s regularity.  Let’s just say that I’ve written my fair share of Miralax prescriptions here.  There is usually a small wastebasket nearby in which you are required to place your soiled tissue (sucks to be a janitor here).  So I made quite the conscious effort once I assumed the position to repeat in my head ‘don’t drop the paper, don’t drop the paper, don’t drop the paper…  I can’t count how many times I have dropped the paper.  But usually it goes down just fine and I’m able to escape, no harm-no foul.

On this particular occasion I actually remembered not to drop the paper, and so I proceded with my flush.  Oh, man, really?!   It didn’t go down, and in fact it was really plugged.  And I had just heard some guy jiggling the door knob.  The double jiggle.  You know what I mean, we all do it:   You try once and realize the door is locked and someone is in there.  Then, you jiggle it again, just so they know that you are out there waiting with some degree of urgency, and you wish they would stop looking at their facebook page on their phone, while you’re out here touching cloth.

This is a really cute little office, very intimate.  Everyone is friendly.  In fact, some guy had brought in donuts earlier, and shared them with everyone in the office, including Heidi and I.  It was like we were part of this cozy dip-shipping family.  And here I had totally jammed a turd in their only toilet.  And there was someone pacing outside.  He may even have had some parasitic infection of his bowels, causing him to have very little control of his external sphincter.  It’s possible he was about to soil himself.  “Quick”, I thought, “get the plunger”.  Right, no plunger.  I looked down and to my horror,  SOMEONE ELSE’S toilet paper was making its way to the surface in a shredded snow-storm of wet particles.  I realized then that I had been sabotaged by a previous Paper Flusher.  I was totally feeling like Ben Stiller right then, in any of his painfully awkward movies where you just can’t even watch it because it is so absurdly uncomfortable.

You all realize where I am going with this, right?  You understand that I had to take you on this journey so that I can justify what I had to do next.  There is a reason why I now never leave my house without a spare pair of sterile gloves tucked in my back pocket.  This was my version of Shawshank redemption, where Andy Dufrain has to crawl 500 yards through a sewer pipe to realize his freedom.  Except that in my case, I just had to reach my hand into a toilet and pull my own excrement, and someone else’s poopy paper from the hole.  And that’s just what I did.  And now, I’ve told you all.  This stays just between you and me, right?


I saw the stroke lady back again.  She is talking a little now, walking well.  Almost a full recovery.  Very cool.  The problem is that she has medical conditions that make it very possible that she will have another stroke, or possibly cardiac arrest.  But she was given a little more time, and at her follow up I discussed this concept with her family.  That we don’t know if she has 10 years more, or 10 days.  But that God had given her a little more time, and that it is a gift to use in the wisest of ways:  to spend more time on her cell phone, working long hours at the office, and trying to make more money.  Oh wait, no, just the opposite of that:   Spending time with family and friends, loving on them, enjoying the wonder and beauty of the outdoors, serving others, praising God.  The same goes for us.  Our lives are fragile, we may only have a moment more.  let’s prioritize.  Oops, sorry, kinda preachy there…


Our beautiful little gal with the skin condition, xeroderma pigmentosa, is basically living here permanently now.  (see post entitled ‘Beautiful.’)  She is struggling with her skin cancers.  Please pray for her comfort, for her time here, that she would feel the peace of God that transcends all understanding.   That she would feel all the Love that is extended to her.  That she wouldn’t feel much pain.


Tomorrow our friends from Yakima will be arriving.  We are so stoked for them to be here.  They are going to do a lot of good repairing teeth, fixing cars, loving on kids, and  filling our ‘missing our besties’ tanks.  Tram, Jason, Jessica, and Hannah, we can’t wait to see you!


a few pics…

Cavanaugh kids preparing a box full of soap, art supplies, toothpaste, etc, for the Children's Home here in Honduras.  Jason and Jessica will be personally delivering it

Cavanaugh kids preparing a box full of soap, art supplies, toothpaste, etc, for the Children’s Home here in Honduras. Jason and Jessica will be personally delivering it


Bunch of MK's on Easter, just before an egg hunt.  Don't worry, we told them it's not about the easter bunny...

Bunch of MK’s on Easter, just before an egg hunt. Don’t worry, we told them it’s not about the easter bunny…

bunny butt

bunny butt

Resurrection Sunday.  He is risen...

Resurrection Sunday. He is risen…

Owen and Jacob, cracking a coconut open.  and then rolling in the mud.   Literally...

Owen and Jacob, cracking a coconut open. and then rolling in the mud. Literally…



Honduran flag

Honduran flag


2 thoughts on “Desperate times…

  1. Jill Fry says:

    Ryan, I think you could take on being an author! The proper lady that I am consistently laughs her pants off with your adventures!

    We miss you all so much, but know that you are doing what you have been called to. Hugs and prayers!


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