Posts Tagged ‘special needs issues’

My #2 Career (Uncomfortable Subjects, Part 1)

March 23, 2011 3 comments

For those of you who know me, you probably think you know what this post is about – my #2* career is the one after music, like going into special needs advocacy or something. Though I do have multiple careers, my #2 career is actually a deep, dark secret. A covert operation. I do it to protect the masses and don’t talk about it. Until today.

James has been potty trained since the age of four, after a lot of hard work by many people. In some respects I really lucked out – James has never wet the bed once. But as far as #2 goes, well that’s a totally different story. For a couple of years his pancreas wasn’t working properly, resulting in explosive #2 about 10 times a day. After a bunch of pills, and when I say a bunch I mean like 20 per day, James seemed to get better. W hen we finally stopped the medication, the explosive #2 didn’t come back. Hooray! But then nothing came back. No #2. I actually missed it for a spell there. And then #2 paid a long overdue visit. Long overdue. James had to go see a GI doctor for a whole new diagnosis – megacolon. I’m not kidding, it’s actually called megacolon. Apparently it is a common diagnosis for young children who are anxious about #2, and is especially common in special needs people.

Megacolon has basically run my life for the last 7 years. It doesn’t discriminate and has ruined Christmas Eve and Mother’s Day more times than I’d like to admit. We have tried different meds, combined pills, experimented with doses, new diets, high fiber, more water, schedules, you name it. Sometimes things are better for 6 months and we think we’re over the worst of it. Then, we’ll have a guest, or go away for a few days, or school will let out for the summer, and a week will go by without #2. Then we have 5 accidents in a day. I say “we have” because James is incapable of cleaning it up himself so it becomes my mess too. Or worse yet, he will try to hide it from us and clean it up himself and then it becomies a mess and a huge fight. Add James to a potty-training toddler and an infant and voila, I am moving up the ladder of my #2 career faster than I care to.

These are the kinds of issues that isolate parents with special needs children. It is commonplace, even a bonding experience, for parents to share potty-training nightmares when discussing their toddlers, or to compare the #2 misadventures of their infant. But responding with “Oh, I know what you mean! Last night James tried to clean up his own #2 and it was all over him, the toilet seat, and the bathroom floor. He also managed to clog the toilet for the second time this week. We both needed showers afterward,” or “Yeah, we’re definitely making progress lately. James only had small #2 accidents last night and this morning, they were totally confined to his underwear,” are total conversation killers.

All kidding aside, I can’t send James to a playdate without worrying he will have some kind of accident, and forget about a sleepover. When we have guests I am constantly asking James if he has to go to the bathroom, and the same goes for when he is watching a movie, playing a video game, away from home on a vacation, laying on his stomach to read a book, making a strange face while playing with his toys, looking mildly worried about something., etc.

Were you uncomfortable reading this post? Disgusted? Sympathetic? Well, just think of it as the price to pay for not having to hear me speak of this uncomfortable subject out loud at the playground. I also feel like it is important to have a place to vent about these things, as many parents do regarding “typical child” issues, in order to preserve a sense of humor, and sanity. Do you have uncomfortable, unfortunate, seemingly unsolvable issues like this? I can sympathize, and you are certainly welcome to leave your comments below.


*The number 2 was abused in order to prevent me from writing “poop” a million times in this post.

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