Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bowel Program

Most of us don't talk about it much, unless with our very good friends, and then it's rather clinical and nutritionally based.  It's quite important, however.  Too bad there's such a shame stigma about the poop thing.  Most of us have a poop memory that just sits there, on our minds, and we not willing to really face it.  But the truth is, when it goes in, it's gotta come out. If it doesn't, well then, there's a real problem.  What most of us don't do is really think about it, we just do it, take care of it privately ourselves and then walk about the rest of our day as though it didn't happen, or at least wasn't that important.  Not really much that is more important. 

When Jed was in rehab the nurses made a big deal out of the "bowel program."  Program?  I was a bit confused.  Me, coming from a music and teaching background, a program was something we invited people to and celebrated.  I can see her face still, the night nurse smiling happily as she put on her gloves and pulled the curtain around Jed's bed.  "I will do the bowel program tonight....,"  leaving me to wonder just what was going on behind that curtain.  

So, here we are more than two years later.  I know stuff now.  I probably knew it then, but that old "shame stigma" just didn't allow me to think about it in any constructive way.  Bottom line (joke, bottom) is that a healthy body needs to poop on a very regular, if not daily, basis.  Now how do you do that when you are a quadriplegic and have little or no feeling in or about the bottom line?  With help.

Now we have a "bowel program" daily.  If this is not the type of thing you like to read, sorry, but this is our life.  Take stalk of the beauty of your body and the comfort with which you manage your private poops.  Jed's body still needs to poop, so we have a program.  He can't really feel when he needs to go or when he has gone for that matter, but bodies are predictable so if we do the poop thing at about the same time each day, well, his body just remembers what to do.  But we have to remind the bowel of  it's job each day by giving it a suppository and waiting to remind the body of it's purpose.  It has a simple beauty of it's own. 

The bowel program takes about an hour each night. About that of any good program, huh?  Suppository, wait, transfer, wait, clean, transfer, clean up.  Sometimes I just think, "please not tonight, I just can't tonight," and then I'm reminded that the program is set, the body has remembered, and Jed's health depends upon this program to not only happen, but be successful. 

We don't talk much during the hour, but we both value the other.  When you stand at the alter and say "I do" to "for better or worse" you just don't think about this kind of thing.  This has to be very hard for Jed.  He was always a very private man.  None of this door wide open stuff for him, and now everything's wide open.  He often asks for small favors, like a shade pulled or a blanket on, "to protect my dignity."  But we both know that this is a health thing, not a shame thing or a dignity thing.  It's a necessity.  And so the marriage vow increases in power.  That fresh love grows more powerful with time and circumstance.  There's lots of things I would hope to never have to do, but when you are put in a place where you do it or lose something very valuable, it's a no brainer and becomes okay, just part of the program. 

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