“But, Mommy, I don’t have to go!” That was little 5-year-old me, trying to get my way out of sitting on my potty chair until I went, “poo.” “No, Jen.” “You need to sit and try to poo.” Mommy saw some in your big-girl pants. You need to try to go more in the potty.” She tells me this while picking me up out of my wheelchair, and placing my little rear-end on my toilet training seat. My butt touches the cool, round, plastic seat. Realizing she plopped me down, I started to cry.
I am sure most parents are familiar with this scenario. All kids (and parents) struggle to some degree with this stage called “potty training.” But for me, trying to go “number two” as a child with Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy was painful, and stressful. Little 5-year-old me did have to go “poo.” I could feel it in my stomach, and in my bottom area on the inside. In my little mind, however, I wasn’t going to sit and try to go, because I knew it would take me forever to actually have a bowel movement, and it would hurt really bad coming out. My bowel movements hurt most of the time because I wasn’t mobile, due to my cerebral palsy. It is mostly common for children and adults who have CP to have constipation, because of spasticity or lack of mobility. This was and is the case for me. So as a child, I still had the urge to use the bathroom, but rather than trying to go to the bathroom, I tried to hold it, because I did not want to be sitting stationary in one room. And my little brain at the time, I didn’t want to miss out on any of the action that I thought might be going on around our house, without me. I thought I would miss something exciting, I guess! At least that was the reason my mother had come up with. She would also call me her little “spy.” Because I would make up for what I couldn’t do with my legs with my eyes and ears!
I still have issues with going to the bathroom as an adult. A few years ago, I was officially diagnosed with chronic constipation. I try to drink enough water and eat the things I know will help my digestive system, but not being able to move on my own due to my cerebral palsy, especially now that I am older, still becomes a factor when trying to feel like a normal person. But unlike my 5-year-old self, I do try to take the time and go to the bathroom! Some weeks are better than others. Sometimes I can go without the help of medications, which is good. Other times, when I’ve been constipated for days, and I’m in a lot of pain in my lower digestive tract, I know I will have to take something to help feel better. Some days, going to the bathroom is all I can focus on, when it gets really bad. But if I have gone at the end of the day, it is an accomplishment, especially living with cerebral palsy, and not having the mobility in your lower legs to get up and go for a walk when needed.
I apologize to any of my readers if I have made you a little squeamish regarding the subject of today’s blog entry. This is just me wanting to inform others about the many daily struggles that some children and adults with cerebral palsy may go through. Some struggles also include being able to comfortably go to the bathroom. We all go to the bathroom. But those that can “go” on a daily basis, may take that ability for granted.
After reading this, I hope they do not. 💩