Thursday, July 25, 2013

For Better or Worse...Roads You Don't Plan to Travel

The last few days have been a mix of emotions.  I am excited that my incisions seem to be healing so nicely. I am thrilled that I can walk with little effort. I am absolutely shocked at the minimum amount of pain that I feel from the surgery itself. My husband keeps insisting that I am a rock star because of my positive attitude, my rate of healing, and that I have cut way back on the pain pills. (Personally, I think that part makes me a lot LESS like a rock star, but that might just be me)   

On the other hand, the issues with the constipation have had me down in the dumps.  The constant pressure and discomfort have really diminished my spirit.  It sucks and it has turned me into a whiney, little, sissy girl. It’s not like I can even comfort myself with eating.  Hell, I don’t WANT to eat.  All I can think is that eating will make it worse.  There is no cookie that can make this better. 

So, Tuesday morning I called the colorectal  nurse.  I told her all I have done. Drinking lots of water. Taking the stool softeners every day. Taking Milk of Magnesia. Drinking Mirelax. Etc, etc. Nothing has moved since before the surgery.   She pulled out the big guns.  She told me to use something called magnesium citrate.  “It should work within 4 hours.”  I went online and read the reviews.  I felt hopeful! I read that I would need to camp out in the bathroom.” Bring pillows!”  I was going to be there for a while. My body was going to expel things that it had not even consumed yet!  YES! FINALLY!  I can see light at the end of a very dark tunnel!

My sweet Farm Boy (AKA: husband) went on yet ANOTHER emergency run to the pharmacy (his 3rd in 4 days), this time in search for this miracle in a bottle. As soon as he got home I drank 4 ounces of the carbonated, lemon-lime, sodium laced beverage. Then 16 ounces of water. And I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And after a few hours of waiting, I repeated the process.  My tummy started talking to me a bit, but that was it. Nothing else.  Nada.  No explosion. No fireworks. No brass band.  Not even a freaking trumpet solo.  I went to bed, the way I woke up.  Bloated and blue.

Wednesday morning at 4:00 am, still no relief. I finished the last couple of ounces of magnesium citrate along with more water.  Same results.  Nothing. 

At this point I am desperate.  I realized that I am impacted. Nothing I take orally is going to help with what is going on down there.  I decided to try glycerin suppositories. Maybe they would stimulate things.  No luck. Just felt awkward and uncomfortable.

OK.  I put it off long enough.  It was time to use the Fleets.  I prepared myself for the deed, stacking pillows and towels on a nonslip yoga mat. (Trust me, it was all needed) I got myself as comfortable as I was able and then…I had a sudden, awful realization…I could NOT physically do this. Due to my abdomen being cut open, sewn and stapled back together, my mobility was VERY limited. There was NO reaching around or through anywhere to get to anything that needed getting at!  

Now, Farm Boy and I have been married for 23 years. We have seen each other through a lot. We are not terribly squeamish about bodily functions.  When your spouse has Crohn’s Disease and you only have one bathroom the first 7 years of marriage, you learn to adjust and get over things that once seemed non-negotiable. He has seen me give birth 4 times. And I am pretty damn sure that I pooped during at least one of those times.  He has even checked my episiotomy stitches. These are all very intimate things. But this…what I was about to ask him to do, somehow seemed more...I don’t know. More intimate? More embarrassing? More SOMETHING.  

6:30am I woke him up, calling from my nest on the bathroom floor.  With tears in my eyes I told him I needed his help.  He did not flinch. He did not ask “Are you SURE you just can't reach around a little bit further?”  He did not make any indication that I was asking anything unusual or asking too much of him.  After carefully preforming what needed to be done, he covered me up with towels and knelt next to me, rubbing my back and talking to me to help keep my mind off how incredibly long 5 minutes can last.  After helping me off the floor and to my seat, he left me alone to relax…as best I could. 

Amazingly, THANKFULLY, there was some movement.  Unfortunately, not much. So we did have to repeat the whole process a few hours later. Again, I made some progress.  Sadly, I am nowhere NEAR caught up to where I should be. We will probably have to do this again before it is all said and done. But I think, I HOPE, the worst has passed. And I pray that I never have to pass what I am pretty sure equates to driveway gravel, again!

I know that there are so many couples who live with chronic and terminal illnesses. I know what my husband did for me on this one day, is so very, very small on the scale of healthcare duties that some preform for their partners on a DAILY basis. They do these jobs with love and compassion so their spouse can maintain their dignity and live as comfortably as possible. I cannot express the respect I have for those couples. And I know that if, God forbid, the time ever comes that my husband needs to preform those sorts of tasks for me, he will not hesitate to do so. Nor I for him.

I also know now, after 23 years, that pride has no place in a marriage. Not when there is trust.  And I trust that man with all my heart...and well...with all my other parts, too.    


  1. I had to give Dexter Fleets more than once when he was pre-school age. It was (not being melodramatic here, stone-cold serious) a traumatic episode every time, for both of us. So sorry it has gone this far for you. Your man is the awesomeness. Love you both.

    1. I can only imagine how rough that would be. :( When they are so young they really have no understanding that what you are doing is to help them.

      And thank you. He's certainly a keeper.

  2. This was a GREAT story. In a warped sort of way, a love story. :-)