The Diaper Diaries – A screenplay
In a garage a husband and wife are talking while cats are swirling about on top of a truck hood where they are accustomed to being fed, and they are each scooping out cat food with noses upturned.
“So when are you going to do something?” the wife asks.
“I don’t know,” the husband answers.
“What are you going to do?” the wife asks.
“I don’t know,” the husband answers.
After a kiss to the husband’s cheek and the cats having been fed, the wife goes one way into the house and the husband the other way into his van.
In the van, music blaring inside, and outside the window of the van the landscape is whizzing by. The husband, John, is tapping his hands on the steering wheel to the song and is singing along.
“One, two, three, four.” The upbeat start of the song.
He talks to himself.
“The only reason they are playing this version of ‘St. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ is to set up ’A Day in the Life’ I guarantee it.”
He sings the remainder of the song and then waits to confirm that the radio station continues with ‘A Day in the Life,’ which the radio station does without an interruption. He is singing along in the car and the movements of his upper body and hands are exaggerated and done as if conducting an orchestra. (He may or may not be eating cereal from a large bowl while driving, intermixing the eating, with the singing, with the turning of the steering wheel and playing drums.)
He points out to himself the alarm going off in the song and turns up the volume to accentuate it, and then says, “I bet they won’t let us hear the piano for 45 seconds at the end.”
He turns into a parking space behind an office. A commercial interrupts the piano sound at the end of the song. “I knew they’d do that.” he says as he gets out of the car and walks quickly toward the back door of the building.
The camera is moving and following John out of his van, into the office door, into the bathroom to swish his mouth with mouthwash and then put on a lab jacket. He goes to an exam room door, takes a chart off the door and begins to look at it.
Non-descript music is wafting down from speakers in the ceiling above his head.
A nurse appears, adjusts the collar of his jacket and says,
“Dr. Turner returned your call, you have patients in rooms 9 through 12, there is a specimen for you to look at in the lab, and Jenny and Johnna said they would be here at ten to talk about the party.”
He walks into the room and begins looking at the chart as he sits on a rolling stool. There are a man and woman waiting and both have looks of concern.
John says, “Good morning, I’m sorry I am late, but I have good news for you, the reports show that the cancer has not spread anywhere and appears to be only in your prostate.”
The couple sighs in relief.
John asks, “Have you decided what you are going to do?”
The man quickly answers, “Yes, I want to have surgery to remove it, and I want you to do it.”
John glances at the time.
“I would like to speak to you in more detail about the surgery, but I need to attend to something for a few minutes… Will you please excuse me?”
John is at a cluttered desk on the phone.
“Dr. Turner, my name is John McHugh. I am a urologist in Gainesville, I recently found out that I have prostate cancer, and I was wondering if you would agree to remove my prostate.”
John is walking to a small conference room where two ladies are waiting; they are wearing scrub suits and obviously work in the medical profession.
John says, “How are the plans for our party coming along?”
One of the ladies says, “Great, we’ve ordered the porta-potties, Dr. Francis’s son is going to DJ, the barbeque will be catered by Johnny’s, and we bought 25 cases of beer; everybody in the operating room is getting really excited. I bet there will be over 100 people from the operating room staff coming.”
John says, “Everything alright with the money?”
The other lady says, “Yes. We just need a check for the beer.”
John says “O.K., I’ll have Keith give you a check; is he still planning to have a Corona bar with limes?”
The first lady says “It’s all set up; he has gotten inflatable palm trees and tiki stuff at Wal-mart. Can we go out to your lake place the night before to set some stuff up?”
John says “Sure.” He pauses. “There is something I need to mention to you.”
John’s nurse interrupts: “You have people waiting in rooms 10 through 12”
He looks at the nurse and says, “Thank you,” then continues with the ladies.
John has piqued their interest and concern, and it shows on their faces and demeanor.
“There is a small chance I may not make it to the party.”
With faces of shock the ladies say in unison “What?”
John says, “I’ll tell you more later, but I have a medical issue I am dealing with, and it may affect my attending. I’ll let ya’ll know more later. Just keep up the good work and bring this thing together.”
John stands, shakes hands, says “Thanks for all y’all have done,” and then leaves.
The ladies stay seated and look at each other in puzzlement.
John returns to the clinic area to see patients again. As he pauses at the exam room door he hears the Beatles’ song ‘The End’, motions to his nurse to come over to him nearer the ceiling speaker, and says “Watch this.” John then plays the drum solo on his chest with his hands perfectly in pace with Ringo doing a drum solo. He says “How about that!” The nurse shakes her head; John enters the room with “Good morning, I‘m sorry I’m late.”
John is back in the room with the first patient and has a chart explaining the anatomy of the prostate, how the anatomy looks with the prostate out, and why removal of the prostate causes leakage of urine. He is drawing the before-and-after picture on the paper covering of the exam table as the patient and his wife look on. Another song is drifting down from the ceiling in the background.
John says, “The only difference in the male and female anatomy in terms of how you urinate is the prostate. When the prostate is removed, the male anatomy in this regard becomes very similar to a woman’s, which is why men will leak urine for a while after this surgery.”
John draws a simplistic picture of a bladder, prostate, and urethra, and then after drawing lines to show where the prostate is removed, he draws another picture of just the bladder and the urethra.
John says, “After the surgery and once the catheter is out, you’ll want to get some diapers. You’ll need them for a few weeks.”
The wife is more interested in this than her husband and moves forward to ask,
“Any particular kind? Did you mean diapers or a protective pad?”
John flippantly says, almost as a brush off, “It doesn’t matter, whatever they have at a grocery store; I would think a diaper is a diaper. That may be the least of his worries.”
John is in a hospital bed, his wife is sitting with him, and Dr. Turner walks in wearing a lab jacket and looking obviously like a doctor.
Dr.Turner asks “How are you John?”
John replies, “I’m good, ready to go home, when do you want me to take this catheter out?”
Dr. Turner asks “You don’t want me to do it?”
John says, “No, I can do it. I’ll email you about how I am doing. How many days do I have to wear it? I’d rather not come back to Atlanta.”
Dr. Turner says “Take it out on post-op day six.”
John says, “Perfect, I’m giving a party on Saturday for the operating room, and I’d rather be in diapers than wearing a catheter.”
Dr. Turner frowns, as does the wife in the background.
Dr. Turner says, “Saturday, this Saturday, tomorrow?”
John says, “No, not this Saturday, next Saturday.”
Dr. Turner says, “I don’t know that you’ll be up for that, but I guess we will just have to see how you do.”
John says, “Thanks again for what you did for me.”
It is the day of the party; John is trying to figure out which pair of shorts will least show the effect of the diapers underneath, looking at himself in various poses and shorts in the mirror adjacent to the kitchen, and is concerned about the diapers filling up too fast if he drinks beer and how he will be able to change the diapers with so many people around.
His wife asks, “When are you going to the party?”
John replies, “In a few minutes. I’m trying to figure out this diaper thing, I think what I need to do is have on a pair of diapers and then inside that a liner of some sort. That way I can discard the liner when it fills up with urine and replace it without taking off my shorts. Can you tell that I have diapers on now?”
John motions to his pelvic area and turns this way and that and looks at himself as his wife looks on. The wife blatantly looks at her husband’s crotch area in an exaggerated fashion as if unabashedly making a point to look. She then shakes her head as if the whole process is silly.
She says “Well, you could if you were just looking there, but I don’t think people will be doing that.”
John says, “I think I’m going to stop by the pharmacy and get a new supply of diapers and check out the liners; I need a system that will allow me to participate in this party and that will also work for my surgeries Tuesday. I’ll see you there.”
John walks out the kitchen door. (If possible the audio over-emphasizes the crinkling sound of the plastic in his diapers.)
John is in a pharmacy standing under a sign that says “incontinence aids,” and he has two varieties of diapers that he is looking back and forth at as well as the other products on the shelf, comparing prices. The camera is zooming in on the brands, the particulars of each diaper and the prices. One of the products is the store brand and is “two-for-one with the Rite Aid discount card” You get the sense that John is over-thinking the process of which one to get and that he is conscientious of and embarrassed by the fact that he is in a section of the pharmacy for incontinence aids. He begins to wonder if he is being noticed or watched and if maybe someone he knows will happen to come into the store.
An attractive younger girl approaches and asks, “May I help you sir?”
John, appearing somewhat anxious, replies, “No thank you, just getting some things for my mother.”
John now exhibits anxiety because he needs to get the diapers and pads, he wants to get the right kind to wear for the party at the best deal, but he doesn’t like being in the incontinence aisle and feels the need to move on and go. He is late for his own party. He begins to talk to himself.
John to himself: “I need the least absorbent diaper with the smallest profile and something other than a plastic outside because it makes that damn crinkly sound when I walk. I then need a liner with the highest absorbency but the smallest size. I like the two-for-one Rite aid brand but I think brand name would be better. I need to go.”
John gets the brand name diaper and the Rite Aid brand liner. The next shot is John at check out, wanting to hurry and not be seen with the diapers, probably making another reference that “these are for my mother-in-law.” He makes a face when he is told he can only get the two-for-one diapers with the coupon at the incontinence aid aisle, and he has to go back to get the coupon, further embarrassing and delaying him.
The camera follows him to his truck, with a dog in it, where he rips into the liners and notices that the back of the liner is a firm foam that bulges out when he puts it in his diaper in the parking lot of the pharmacy.
John: “Damn it, I should have gotten the liner with soft backing, this foam is going to be a problem. To hell with it, I need to get there.”
John gets into the car with the camera showing on the seat all sorts of diaper paraphernalia, different brands of diapers, liners, old packaging, etc. His dog is sniffing around the seat uncomfortably close to John’s crotch. He pushes the dog’s nose away, only to have the dog find other “continence aid” items on the floorboard to sniff and scratch at.
John is at the party. It is at a lake, lots of people, music, and everyone is talking and drinking beer. You see a makeshift tiki bar with inflatable plants around it and a Corona sign. John is talking with two people, and the camera accentuates that fact that his shorts are drooping in the middle and the crotch is bulging. John doesn’t notice, but the camera catches the eyes of one of the women he is talking to, and she peers at his crotch when he is looking away. She makes a face. John begins to feel that the liner in the diaper is full and now is beginning to figure out how to exchange the liner and where. The camera looks all around at possibilities. The far-away porta-potty, his truck up a drive near a small cabin, the enclosed dock, the woods above where the DJ is playing the music. He makes his way to the dock and he has to waddle because of the full liner. (Only a few of the participants know that John has had surgery and that he is wearing the diapers.) John waddles across the walkway to the dock, the swaying of the dock and the waddling because of the diapers accentuates the hilarity of the situation.
In the dock, he pretends to be checking on something, and while his head is peering out the door, he quickly slips out one liner and sticks another one in and throws the old liner behind a shelf. He walks out as if nothing had happened.
In order to have a dry, non-bulky liner, John has to discard the full ones in creative ways, in between getting another beer and speaking to many people along the way. He hides them all over the area, behind the porta- potty, in the truck, the dock, the woods, and the cabin. This is done while entertaining and answering questions about how long he’s had the property, what a good idea the party was, etc. At one point, a group plants a tree in memory of a deceased operating room nurse, and John is asked to say something to dedicate the tree. John’s liner is full, so is he speaking but turning this way and that to minimize what he perceives is now an obvious ballooning out of his crotch. Over the course of several hours he speaks to a lot of people and is seen walking up a hill, making his way to the porta potties, going into the woods, and doing the exchange without people noticing. They do notice that he is making trips here and there and some comment on it, but they don’t know why.
(While talking to a guest) again the camera emphasizing John’s crotch, his dog Chloe ambles up. At his feet, with several people looking on, she begins eating and picking apart one of the poorly hidden liners she’s found. John hurriedly gets it and throws it away.
The party ends and the incessant trips by John to various areas to hide liners all about the property is well documented. The next day, John is trying to remember where he put all the liners as he begins to collect them for disposal.
John is leaving the operating room. The camera follows him to the surgeon’s lounge where he gets a liner out of his locker, goes into the restroom looking around very carefully to see if anyone noticed, and puts another clean liner in and discards the old liner deep in the trash can by pulling some trash out , putting in the liner, then replacing the trash. Then he goes to the consultation area to speak to the patient’s wife from the earlier scene. She is sitting with a book on her lap.
John: “Good morning, Mrs. Smith. How are you?”
“I am very well thank you, just a little tired; we’ve been up since five.”
John: “What type of diapers did you end up getting?”
Wife: Looking somewhat puzzled, “Just some at the grocery store.”
John: “Brand name or store brand?”
Wife: “I don’t remember, just adult diapers.”
John: “Well, what you want is brand name Depends. They are in a green plastic container and in either the incontinence aid aisle or adult diaper section of the store. You want to get the hyper-absorbent type with the option of two-way use. The sides of the diaper you want are perforated and have sticky tabs on the side that you tear, put on, and secure without taking your pants off. The material on the side breathes, and since it is breathable and not plastic, it won’t make that plastic crinkly noise when he walks. If he is in public or going to church or something, I would suggest getting a liner for the inside of the diaper, and then you can change that without changing the whole diaper. Having the diaper in addition to the liner gives you a little confidence in case the liner overflows. I don’t think brand name is important in terms of the liner you choose unless you are looking for a low crotch profile or if odor and skin barrier issues are a problem. You can use some grocery store discount cards for these, particularly if they are on sale.”
The wife is somewhat taken aback; she is waiting to see how her husband did with the major surgery. Throughout the diaper discussion and dialogue she is making unusual faces. John is oblivious to this and is really into the various options regarding diaper management.
She interrupts: “Dr. McHugh, how did my husband do, is he ok?”
John, as if coming out of a coma or out of a daydream and showing surprise.
“Your husband, oh he’s fine. The surgery went great. He should do well.”