Friday, May 23, 2008

Who's Doing the Laundry? (Warning, Not humorous)

My apology to my readers in advance if you were looking for a lighter topic today. But this subject is important to me and, after a conversation that I had with a dear friend this evening during which I expressed my ongoing distress about people I know who, last fall, expressed in my presence how funny it was to contemplate people "pooping in their pants," I've decided to drag it from the hold bin into posting reality.

In that one conversation, they did irreperable harm to me, especially in light of my current health struggle. It was not an easy decision to expose this to the light of day just as it is not easy to live with Crohns Disease.

I only hope that by talking more openly about the subject - and in nowhere near as descriptive or graphic terms as it could have been done in although it is certainly graphic enough, that I inspire a greater sensitivity towards people who are experiencing physical issues beyond their control.

I am inconceivably tired of laundry. This has been a banner week for it.

Crohns Disease sucks. "Laurel1nd," in her posting of March 14th, says:

When you say "Crohn's disease" to most people, the first symptom that comes to mind (if they know what the disease is) is diarrhea. It tops the list of symptoms in almost any information you find on-line or from your doctor. What that word doesn't express is just how severe the diarrhea can be, and how very difficult it can be to live with.

The severe diarrhea of Crohn's disease happens because the cells of the intestinal wall absorb lots of water and salt. Unfortunately, your colon can't absorb that water into your body, so you end up with watery diarrhea, which is frequently "explosive." If you have Crohn's, you know what that means and how it feels; if you don't, it's pretty much what it sounds like. No matter how hard a person with Crohn's tries to "hold it in" and get to the bathroom, that diarrhea is not controllable. It blows out. If you don't like reading that, imagine how we feel living with it.

If you're having a relapse or flare of Crohn's disease, chances are that you are experiencing severe diarrhea. You are probably in the bathroom for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes at a time (I'm basing this on my own experience; I couldn't find any statistics, no matter how hard I searched), and when you leave the bathroom, you are probably back in it within 10 to 15 minutes. It is impossible to sleep very long when your diarrhea is severe. If you are trying to sleep, you should wear an "adult incontinence product" because there's a very good chance that at least once you won't make it to the bathroom in time. I'm seriously considering getting an inflatable mattress to use in the bathroom when I'm having a flare; I wish that were a joke, but with the severe diarrhea of a Crohn's flare, I don't want to be in my own bed when I have to go, because when you have to go, you have to go NOW, not 15 or even 2 minutes from now.

Thank you Laurel1nd! Seriously... that's a better description of the situation than I've ever been able to give without details that would disgust the most brave of heart. The only problem with your synopsis is that I've tried "adult incontinence products;" they don't work very well since Crohns Disease is not what they were designed for.

I've been walking around Balboa Lake for the past 10 days. They have two bathroom buildings at that location, unfortunately both located in the same third of the lake. That means that if I have a problem during the other two thirds of the route, I'm shit out of luck. Pun intended.

It would be easy to say "just don't go to the lake," but the fact is that I am currently feeling like I cannot pursue my more traditional means of physical activity. So what am I supposed to do? Sit at home and gain weight? Or find some means of exercise, anything that I can do that I can afford, and hope for a good day? With Crohns, you never know how the day is going to go until moments before it goes that way. You don't know you're going to have a severe day until about three seconds before it goes severe so you can't really plan for it. But I certainly don't want to sit at home in fear of a bad day when it might turn out to be a perfectly acceptable one and an opportunity was missed.

I am inconceivably tired of laundry.

I've had an issue while walking almost every day out of the past five. I've had issues in my home come on so rapidly that even though I am usually no more than 20 feet from a bathroom, sometimes I don't make it. And with each of these "issues" comes another immediate cycle of laundry.

I am inconceivably tired of laundry.

I just finished my regular laundry (non-Crohns related). Pulled everything out of the washer and put it into the dryer. Then came inside and to my bed. That's when I discovered it. The stain on the bottom sheet that I missed when I checked first thing this morning. Yet another load of laundry to do. Today. This minute. Now.

I am inconceivably tired of laundry.


Anonymous said...

I've wanted to ask you how do you handle this part..Sometimes while out on my walks my IBD will suddenly kick into gear and there is no where to go to the bathroom except my home..At times I don't want to go out if I feel there is going to be no bathroom, because I don't want to embarrass myself or the kids. But I force myself to go out and try and not think about it..I don't feel so alone now that you've posted this..Thank you friend.

Laura said...


I do not 'handle' it at all, but as you know, there is no choice but to live with it.

Things I can suggest is dark clothing, a sweater or shirt tied around your waist to hide the problem, double underwear, and skirts.

Even after an accident, I try to walk erect and like I'm unaffected. Trying to hide the issue by hunching over, skurrying around the outskirts of wherever you are, etc. only draws more attention to yourself.

I'm sorry you have to deal with this too.


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