Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Pun Intended

It's not just having ALS that makes my life difficult. It's having ALS and being in a wheelchair. Of course the wheelchair thing happens to many, if not all, pALS. We all end up immobilized by this illness. Some of us, however, end up in the chair sooner than others. Such is the case for me. The whole wheelchair thing compounds what would otherwise be simple problems for most people.

These last few days, probably since last Friday when I was feeling so bad, I've been struggling with something going hyperactive in my lower stomach. The burble and grumble of gas has been profound. The explosive reaction when on the toilet, and sometimes when not on the toilet, has been loud enough to make one think an accident had occurred on the street below. Unfortunately this has been accompanied by the expected rather loose stools, my daily visit to the bathroom becoming a liquid mess at times.

For most people, this would simply be an inconvenience. You go to the bathroom and blast that gas out. You go again as called upon, relieving the pressure on your system. You wipe your own ass. For me, going to the bathroom is a major excursion, an wearing exercise in heavy lifting, hard pushing, cleaning and transfer. Wiping my own ass is becoming a challenge. So I use the bathroom as best I can in the morning; I try to avoid repeated visits.

Yesterday I had a really tough morning, so tough the Katherine had to clean my backside up afterwards. In addition to the typical tough toilet time, I had a great deal of difficulty finishing off and cleaning myself. My lower bowel seemed to think that it should continue with its efforts even though I was no longer on the toilet. I was, once again, a shitty mess. Katherine can only be considered saintly in her efforts to deal with both my body and my emotions.

Unfortunately I had had some similar problems the night before; gas sufficiently active that the bedsheets needed changing. Katherine pulled them off and put on clean sheets. Then, last night, again, the very same problem occurred again. This morning it was the Home Care Aide who changed the sheets. Two nights; two sets of sheets. This is why I have several sets of sheets. I have a lot of laundry to do.

All of this lower end stomach problem is a compound effect. I have trouble with toileting because I am in a wheelchair. Thanks to ALS, I have trouble purging my bowels because my core muscles are failing. I have trouble stopping the evacuation because those same muscles which cannot push fail to engage the completion process properly. I have trouble cleaning myself because sometimes I cannot reach in while seated, nor can I stand to clean. And, as the old saying goes, you can never trust a fart after you reach 50.

Some days are just a mess. Yesterday was. Today started that way. Let's hope that today, it all comes out okay in the end. Pun intended.

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