Saturday, 9 July 2016

Imodium In Bulk.

Let me start by saying I am feeling better. Not ALS better. No my current complaint is much more mundane, much more ordinary. For the last few days I have been having tummy trouble, and by tummy trouble I really mean diarrhea. I've had an ass like a shotgun and the primary ammunition has been nearly liquid ejecta. It ain't pretty, and it rhymes with that too.

Yesterday was the worst. Before home care arrived, I called and cancelled. I was afraid of any movement, especially any movement of the exercise kind. Remember, when your body moves, so does your bowel. Instead I stayed in bed, hoping beyond hope that things would get better, that this feeling would go away.

I finally did get up. I tried to get dressed but halfway through my stomach began its performance. It was all "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble." My rumblings abdominal were truly phenomenal, the base emanations sufficient to disturb furniture nearby. I prayed. Although I wonder about god as our architect. His design seems insufficient, having left me in this position. If I am made in his image, he must have spent a good deal of time on the toilet. Surely, he could have done a better job.

The transfer to my wheelchair was uneventful. Hallelujah! I made it to the kitchen, made some coffee, and ate a small piece of fish I made last night. It sat, mostly, for a while. Then it happened. Unfortunately it started to happen while I was in the kitchen. By the time I made it to the bathroom, the contents of my lower bowel had begun to make their announced arrival. By the time I transferred to the toilet, I realized my underwear would be lost to the process. By the time I got them off, my life was shitty mess.

I finished what I had started, or rather what my stomach had started. At that point I cleaned up what I could, then slid through the greasy remnants and onto the towel which I used to cover my wheelchair seat. I rolled to the shower and transferred once again. This time there was less goo, but I still needed the equivalent of a fire hose cleaning. So shower I did, as I surveyed the damage to the toilet, to my now disposed of underwear, to the towel, to me.

After the lengthy process of cleaning up, I returned to the kitchen. This time I did not bother with clothing, except for a shirt. If this were to happen again, I wanted to minimize the damage. Katherine arrived, reminding me that I had some Imodium. I am reminded once again of how crappy a job I do of looking after myself without her around. She rustled up the Imodium, then hustled me off to my bed so that I could dress myself.

Now for most people, the distress of diarrhea is troublesome and tiring. For me it is exhausting, thanks to the general weakness of ALS. Add to that the energy required for multiple transfers, for showering off the shit, for changing clothes, and finally for attempting to dress once again. I got underwear on. I got compression socks on. I got my shirt on. But as I was pulling my shirt on I fell backwards. At that point I said "to hell with this." In that very same moment, Katherine walked in, looked at me and said "go to sleep". I did. It was 5:30 PM.

I awoke this morning at 11:00 AM. The Imodium has done its work. My tummy is still sore, but my bowels are no longer explosive. I have taken the risk, not only of dressing but of putting on my blue jeans. Katherine is doing the laundry, recuperating the damages of yesterday. We are washing it twice. I've had some coffee with what appears to be little ill effect. I think I may be through the worst of it.

I've been thinking about what might have caused this little incident. I come up with two very clear possibilities. It might just be a bug, some sort of stomach virus that I've had for several days now. Or, a much worse possibility, I may be developing a reaction to red wine. It's the only difference for Katherine and me over the last few days; I've had a lot more wine than her. If this is situation, I'm going to have to start buying Imodium in bulk, at Costco.


  1. .... happens:) You have a great sense of humor. It is said that the greatest human attribute is adaptability. I think it is humor during difficult times. You have it. Not many could tell this story.

    1. I got a good look at my wheelchair cushion cover this morning. It went into the laundry too. You have to laugh. There is no other reasonable response. And life is too short, especially with ALS, to do anything else.

  2. Life is a crapfest, literally. You have created a new art form naturally. Bodily functions have always been a source of humor in my family.
    The last night of my June visit with my sister had such an event. Her ALS started in her mouth, so eating is a challenge. Chewing and swallowing are difficult so they inserted a feeding tube in her stomach, only to find out the formula she was limited to was on back order until July. She found liquid and soft foods to try to keep the calories up and did her best to chew what she could. We were amazed to see her eating spaghetti that night. She ate a whole plate and was asked if she wanted seconds. Her head shook 'No' and she signaled she was full but the communication wasn't understood. I got it and said that her Butterball turkey indicator (referring to her stomach tube port) had popped out saying she was done. We all laughed hysterically. She had tears from laughter. Making it all a new normal really helps and that is what I hear in your humor.

  3. Sh*t happens. You turned it into funny sh*t happens. This humour and attitude must be what has gotten you along so far--thank you for sharing :) And I'm glad you're feeling better.

  4. Hi Richard-

    Loved this and love your whole blog.I found it on Google awhile ago. My husband was just diagnosed on June 30th, though we have known for awhile. Glad you are feeling better! I would much rather deal with a cold type illness than the gut stuff, I can only imagine how wretched it must be from a wheelchair. Your humor about it is awesome :)