I’m a Big Boy Now
Many of us live with a reality that we’re too embarrassed to talk about, even with medical professionals. Multiple sclerosis (MS) prevents us from pooing properly — no matter how much fiber we consume or how much water we drink. I wrote about this in a recent column.
As our biological machines break down under the ravages of MS, those of us who are lucky enough live in the affluent West at a time when machines can replace our missing abilities. I went to work for the first time in my powered wheelchair last night; it’s a long story (I work in a comedy club), but due to fire regulations, that had been impossible until now.
When the taxi dropped me off at home afterward, I made my way to the front door and let myself in. My wife was asleep on the couch. I made a sandwich well past midnight and put myself to bed. (Sort of, as I didn’t have the strength to get my right leg into bed properly; it’s been a trying few months.)
I’m a big boy now.
On Saturday, one of my machines suddenly failed, and I was thrust into the netherworld that I’d previously left behind. That latter word is apt, as the failed machine was my anal catheter. I’ve only been using it for about six weeks, but it’s now as important to me as my powered chair.
I can’t believe that I’d lived like this for years, but you find a way of coping. You endure.
The details are sordid. My only option was to take vast quantities of laxatives and spend the day sitting on the commode.
It gets painful. There is no control and little notice.
Finally, I gave up and went to bed.
At 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, I was forced awake and scrambled to get back on the commode. It was no easy task — even at full pelt, it takes five minutes to lower the hospital bed and then arrange my legs so that I can stand for the few seconds needed.
I made it.
And then, Vesuvius.
I was worried that the commode couldn’t handle it all.
For the next 36 hours, this was my life. And yes, once I didn’t make it.
I’d lived like this for the last few years and, stoically, just got on with it.
In the last six weeks, I’d forgotten everything!
The company that supplies me the Peristeen system shipped me a new device yesterday.
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