Sh*t Happens! The Lighter Side of Incontinence.

Have you ever seen the movie “Death at a Funeral”? In it there is a scene where the elderly Uncle entraps a young friend to assist him in a bathroom visit. Only thing is that Uncle has left it to the last minute. Of course there are numerous obstacles to avoid with the loan wheelchair. Ultimately, the very germ phobic young person assisting the Uncle freaks out when he finds poo on his hand. Not yet realising that is also on his face. Having cared for a family member with lots of toileting issues, we rolled around on the cinema floor with laughter. Then, to our horror we realised that NO one else was laughing. Surely, we cannot be the only people in the cinema with a warped sense of humour? Or, were we just the only ones who had ever related to this scene? To me, this scene we had just viewed in a comedy relates to life both literally and figuratively!
Death at Funeral – young man pushing elderly uncle in wheelchair
Regardless of your status in life. Whether you are rich, poor or somewhere in between, whether you have a disability of any kind around you, we all have sh*t to deal with. The way we deal with it is what sets us apart. Like many carers when dealing with the crap that had come into my life I was very often overwhelmed at times. There were many days when I seemed to be wading ankle, knee, no, hip deep in sh*t! Times where the smallest things can send you over the edge. Times where only by changing your mindset from “wooh is me” to the mindset of being a fly on the wall thinking “Hmm, that does look like good sh*t going on there – can’t wait to join in!” Now, I’m not saying that while you’re in the thick of things and setback after setback seems to be the only thing happening in yours and the one you care for lives. But, taking two steps forward and ten steps back is progress. Slow progress, but progress all the same. And, progress is better than being stagnant. A business colleague recently said to me that you keep revisiting the same situations over and over again until you learn from that situation. I would also add in the case of incontinence that medical procedures and technology also need to catch up. As a carer of someone who is unable to make decisions, the decisions you make need to be informed and all other avenues of therapy investigated before heading towards major invasive surgeries. The upside to all this waiting and hoping that all goes well in surgery is you really, really appreciate when the person you care for is eventually continent. For me this took 19 years, and although not perfect, we can now be usually by dry during and the day and only have mild issues at night, if, we maintain our routines of CIC’s and regular wash outs. You may think, “Hell, I don’t want to have to go through 19 years of sh*t to achieve my goals”. But, please remember there were some great memories and learning in this time. Learnings like, you cannot go to Grandma’s house (a two-hour drive away) and stay the night without at least a weeks’ worth of supplies and clothing. If you do decide as a twelve old, that three ileostomy bags will last you overnight, you can be assured that it won’t last the afternoon. (We decided when #1 son was young that to be able to function in society independently he would need to be as responsible as possible. So, he was learning about his body and the consequences of not taking responsibility for your body can cause repercussions, not only to himself, but those around him). Consequently, we all went home within hours of arriving at Grandma’s house. What I think I’m trying to say here is “Sh*t happens”, so go with it, make the most of the situation. Cause let’s face it if we don’t sh*t we die. Oh, by the way, I still dry reach whenever there is a particularly bad baby nappy smell, even if I’m not the one taking care of it?

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