Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bedpans, And Toilets, And Catheters Oh My!

We All Gotta Do It!
From the moment we are born, it isn't a secret that we are always in need of waste elimination. From poopy diapers, to potty training trials, training pants, bed wetting, and graduation day, being able to control it all as needed.

The Bottom Of the Matter!
Until recently, I never considered talking about the physical challenges bowel/bladder issues that can arise when you have a physical disability. After all,  poop talk isn't exactly a socially acceptable topic for casual discussion. But you know what?  It is a hard core reality. And it makes life a heck of a lot easier, when you can ask questions and seek advice on any topic that is crucial to life. After all, if we don't eliminate waste products, we can get pretty ill and even die. So it is serious enough to not be be embarrassed by. Jonathan Merchant isn't embarrassed about it all. In fact, it is why I am writing this post, to share his very personal and "family friendly" video, dealing with his particular disability (spinal cord injury), and his bowel care routine. Craig and I, stumbled upon his video a while ago, and thought how brave he was to share such a personal aspect of life. After watching him, it was impossible to feel embarrassed about bathroom "stuff," ever again. As you will see in Jonathan's video, he is discussing how you can be independent regarding bowel care. We don't all have the same physical abilities, so his method is appropriate for others with the same type of mobility and strength. Look how amazingly flexible he is!
You will notice that he has something attached to his right leg. He doesn't talk about it, but it is called a "leg bag." That is a bag that collects urine which runs through tubing. For males, the tubing is attached to a condom catheter. Females who use this method, use indwelling catheters. I can go into more detail on all that another time.
Watch Jonathan's video if you want and then we will talk some more.

We always learned to call suppositories, the "bullet" method! Depending on muscle tone, strength, whether we have spinal cord damage, or can not feel anything, or lack muscle control, or whatever the case may be, our bowel eliminating methods can vary.  Jonathan's routine is one method that is used routinely, when persons are not able to push out waste material or for those of us who just use suppositories as needed.  Such as, when having very hard stool issues or constipation. Don't' get me started on how much that can hurt! Some need to use suppositories regularly and some require then as needed.

If you have had your own experiences that may help someone in your position. Please leave questions and comments below. I hope to delve into more detail on this very personal issue soon. 

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