Sunday, January 04, 2009

Will poop for painkillers

When I was a kid I knew that telling my mom that there was something wrong with me was always going to get the same reaction from from her. It didn't matter what the complaint was - stomach ache, headache, nosebleed, ear infection - the response was static. She would lean in close, get a serious look on her face and in a low voice ask "Do you have to go to the bathroom?"

I don't why this was her go-to question. Maybe it's something she heard as a kid*. Maybe she once had an ear infection caused by constipation and she was worried that someday the same thing would happen to me. All I know is that I was asked this same question well beyond the age when anyone should have been asking me that. When I was in middle school I brought home a note from the school nurse stating that I had scoliosis and needed to be seen by a doctor. My mother read that note, eyed me suspiciously and then said "Do you need to go to the ba-"

"No!" I cut her off. "I've pretty much got a handle on this toileting thing now and anyway I'm pretty sure no one has ever been so plugged up that it caused their spine to curve."

Once I grew up and got married I figured I would never again be asked about my bowel movements. Especially since I married a man that thought I never pooped. Once, few months into our marriage I went into the bathroom to do what you do in the bathroom and I guess I was in there a little too long. After a couple of minutes Jesse came knocking on the door to see if I was all right. I wish I was exaggerating. I don't know if her knew before that day that everybody poops.

When I recently went to the ER because my post-op pain was so bad I got an x-ray to check and make sure nothing was amiss internally. The doctor reviewed it and then came to talk to me. "Well" he said with a very serious look on his face "There's some stool visible in the x-ray."

I considered pointing out to him that wasn't possible since I was laying on a table when they took the x-ray and not sitting on a stool. Before the words could make their way out of my mouth though I realized he was talking about the other kind of stool. (Is there a grosser euphemism for "poop" than "stool"? I think not.) "We'll give you more painkillers" he promised "but first we're going to give you an enema."

I felt like I was a kid again. Was my mother working in the ER? Certainly they were not suggesting that I was in the much pain because I had to poop. They couldn't think I was that out of touch my body, right? I mean, I knew that the pain I was feeling was less a "I have to poop" pain and more of a "someone made four incisions into my body and cut part of me out" pain. But the lure of more painkillers made me agree to the enema.

A little while later a woman in lime green scrubs and cat's eye glasses wandered into the room. She had the device in her hands. "Roll on your side" she said brightly "and we'll get this thing going!"

I'll spare you the details of what happened next. I will tell you though that at one point she patted my shoulder and said "You're doing just great!" I thought about saying that my ability to get an enema was one of the first things my husband liked about me when we met but then I worried that she would think I was serious and then she might think weird things about me and I didn't really feel like taking the time to explain that it was all just a joke. After she was done she left with the instructions to hold it as long as I could but to roll from side to side as much as I could. Since rolling back and forth hurt so much Jesse came and stood by my bed to help me. He helped me roll my bloated, sloshing body to one side and then would count down the seconds until it was time to roll back the other way. That man must really love me.

Fifteen minutes later I shuffled across the hall into the bathroom to do what you do when you have an enema. Jesse wanted to come in with me but I believe that the secret to a good marriage is a little mystery so I made him wait in the hall. When all was said and done I didn't feel any better. In fact I felt much worse but at least then I got another shot of painkiller.

After the enema failed to make me feel any better the doctor threw up his hands and said "You shouldn't be having this much pain! You might as well go home because there's nothing else we can do for you!" (Yes, that's really what he said.) The hospital's mission statement is "We improve the health and quality of life for the people we serve in a manner that reflects the healing mission of Jesus." I think they should change it to "Jesus! That's a lot of stool you've got there! We'll help you poop it out but if that doesn't work then we're fresh out of ideas."

I left the hospital that day a little wiser, a little emptier and a lot more certain that if I ever again have to go the ER, I'm going to poop at home first.

*I'm betting this is the cause. There seems to be a family history of poop fascination. When I was a kid I loved to look through my grandma's recipe box. Stuck right there in the middle of recipes for Glorified Rice and Jell-O Salad was a recipe marked "diarrhea". Every time I would find it I would laugh and laugh and laugh. My grandma would always get mad and yell "It's not a recipe for diarrhea! It's a cure for it!" but I wouldn't care because when you're ten years old there's nothing funnier than finding the word "diarrhea" in an old lady's recipe box.


Torina said...

I think that is most enjoyable post about poop that I have ever read :)

I am just LIKE YOUR MOM!! I always ask my daughter if she has gone #2 lately when she complains of a tummy ache. Of course, she holds her poop for world record amounts of time so I feel justified and not guilty at all.

My mom's thing when I didn't feel good was to ask me, "Did you take a calcium pill today?" As though calcium pills solved all ailments of the world. She was SHOCKED when I had my first grown-up physical and I had healthy calcium levels. I think she would ahve called the curse if I let her and argued about it "But she doesn't drink milk! She can't POSSIBLY be healthy!"

Steph at Problem Solvin' Mom said...

Holy Crap {{sorry, I couldn't help it!}}

I really hope you're feeling better, this was one of the funniest posts I've ever read, I'm crying I was laughing so hard.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

But, did you get your pain killers and are they working? Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

So? How do you like knowing that you have a low tolerence for pain?


that at the hospital you most likely have a note on your chart that says: possible narcotic seeker?

Hiding Behind Words said...

This is the funniest poop story yet. And knowing how my family loves a good poop convo during dinner, that's quiet impressive.

My mother also thinks pooping is a cure-all. That and taking a nap (sleep on your stomach if you have a belly ache and it will magically go away. I'm 28 and to this day, I sleep on my stomach to induce a poop. Why not try to kill 2 birds with one stone?

Hope you feel better, Jen.

Esther said...

I am your mom. My Ethan had a problem with constipation during a stint in the hospital last year, and after 3 (yes, count 'em) enemas he finally got on track. Now it scares me when he says his tummy hurts, so my first question is always, "Do you have to poop?"
My mom's answer to everything was, "Have a piece of toast." Hope you're feeling better!

Sam said...

Whenever Chicken has a stomachache I always ask him about pooping and fiber intake. It's from having IBS for a million years.

Leslie said...

Do you still have the recipe because it deserves a post of its own!

Stimey said...

Oh, dear. I'm so sorry. This doesn't sound like a lot of fun. I really hope you feel better.

Quinn had a "stool ball" once. His doctor thought it was a tumor until they gave him a CT scan.

He also suffered through an ER enema, although on an entirely different visit. In his case, it's perfectly reasonable to ask him he has to use the bathroom if he says he's sick. In fact, his way of saying he has to poop is to say, "My stomach hurts."

And now you have too much information about Quinn.

I really do hope you're feeling better by now.

Cathy said...

I always ask my preschool students if they need to use the bathroom when they complain about a stomach ache. I've also learned to add, "do you feel like you need to throw up?" to my list of questions for those kids.

But I hope that when my own children are in high school I will no longer be asking them if they need to poop!

Jennifer said...

I just had to read this after seeing the title.

I'm feeling kinda bad for laughing out loud at your pain and poo misery. My mother to this day still asks about my pooping habits. I'm almost 34! And married! With two children!

This was my favorite line..."The hospital's mission statement is "We improve the health and quality of life for the people we serve in a manner that reflects the healing mission of Jesus." I think they should change it to "Jesus! That's a lot of stool you've got there! We'll help you poop it out but if that doesn't work then we're fresh out of ideas." Pure brilliance.

Heather said...

Oh dear got, this is the funniest thing I've read today!

Anonymous said...

I hope you're feeling better. I'm not a doctor, but I have known people who have had their gall bladders removed and have had significant pain afterwards that required large amounts of narcs. On not-so-rare occasions it has been due to a bowel leak caused by damage done during the surgery. Please, if the pain doesn't get better, go back to the ER and insist on testing for a leak.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know what to expect as I clicked over here and started to read. But that was one of the funniest things I have ever read.

I am sorry that it happened and you were in pain, but posts about poop are usually the funniest ones. Thanks for the belly laugh :)

Connie said...

What does it say about me that I enjoy stories about Poop?

So funny!

Donna said...

I just found you, and I plan to subscribe based on the new hospital mission statement alone. Hilarious! Thanks for the laugh.

NGS said...

I have to agree with Donna. I got here from the link on Playgroups are No Place for Children and you are HILARIOUS.

I hope you are feeling better, though!!

Michelle said...

Just came over from Jen at Playgroups are no place for Children, and am still laughing. I'm sorry that your pain caused my laughter, but you tell it so good.

Hope you're feeling better.

Unknown said...

Seeing as how my 4 year old daughter is having some serious poop issues today (I have heard no less than 10 times in the last 24 hours "Mom! My poop just came out all by itself! In my big-girl pants! Can you help me?") I would have thought that poop was the last thing I'd want to read about. This was freakin' hilarious though. :)

Mom O Matic said...

Every damn day my mom would ask, "Did you have a BM today?". I love your line about an earache caused by constipation.

Great post!

Also - go to the drug store and buy a bottle of mag citrate. Make it REALLY cold and suck it down with a straw as fast as you can. You'll poop soon after.

Unknown said...

OK. I think I'm your mother. Except that you would then only be 7 or 9. Why? Well for some odd reason that's what I always say to my kids when they complain of a stomach ache. Who knew I'm creating such a nice memory?lol

Kevin said...

Found you on Write From Karen's blog carnival.

This was a truly enjoyable story. Thanks for giving me a laugh.

Lindsay said...

HAHAHA! I love that post! Sooo funny!