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Life with Crohns; #ChronsWeek Part 1 — Chattin’ Shit

Life with Crohns; #ChronsWeek Part 1 — Chattin’ Shit

Forgoing Dignity & Relearning how to Poop.

Forward & Intro

On writing this piece, it kind of grew out of scope, so I’m going to split it up into a couple of parts – I just wanted to write about the fantastic Pooping Footstall, to see if it’ll help anyone else – but then I started writing about Crohns and life and all that and waffle waffle waffle – until I realised I had too much content, but don’t want to skip any of it out.

I don’t know about anyone else…, but I have a love-hate relationship with Pooping. I guess everyone with gastro issues does, but I can’t be the only one.

My Domain

For me, “The Thrown Room”, or “The Office”, “The Gents/Boys/Lav/Etc”, it’s a special place. I feel like this little room, with a seat-with-a-hole, somewhere to wash my hands, etc, is my entire domain; my entire world, if but for a moment. I feel like Symba from The Lion King being told that “Everything the light touches is our kingdom”.

Nobody can disturb me whilst I’m here, I’m completely offline, devoid of all human contact. Dad used to say “I do my best reading in there”, and he’s right. When I’m in there, I generally read a book or a little bit of internet, normally just a chapter or two. I own my whole flat, I can read anywhere I want, but it’s The War Room I choose to do this.

Flatmates

I didn’t know it at the time, when I rented my last place, with flatmates, how important this room would be for me. When I wake up, I need to go, there and then. At one point I had 4 flatmates (+ me), and we only had one bathroom. I will never make that mistake again.

Mornings were hell for me, if I woke up and someone was using the shower/toilet, getting ready for work – I’d plead with them to hurry up. Or if I would wake up first, they would plead for me to ‘hurry up’. My bowels have no master though, they’re a law unto themselves, and they’re going to do what the damn well they want – whether I, or anyone else, likes it or not; i’ve got maybe a 3-4 minute warning. This was problematic. Some of my flatmates were very sympathetic, and some not-so.

There were times where I had to find alternative arrangements, such as rushing to the club we lived above; in fact, they got used to me walking through in my tatty dressing gown, with an urgent look on my face, and an urgent stride in my step. I’m sure they didn’t think anything of it; but I felt embarrassed every time. I’m going to be honest, and forgo all dignaty in order to explain the urgency; and imagine my shame and embarrassment at this; to explain how dire things had become for me; I had to Think Practical. Sometimes, I would even use a bucket in my bedroom, a small white plastic bin, naturally with no kinds of holes. It seemed like the best solution, I’d do my buisness, and then when everyone has left for the morning & the coast was clear; empty & clean it (I became BFFs with disinfectant). This wasn’t a daily thing, but it did happen.

And so, when I left that place, after 3-4 years, and got a place of my own once again… I was overjoyed to know that I would once again be able to perch up proudly on a thrown of my own.

Out’n’About

The thing with Chrons is, and as above, there are time where I can’t “Leave the house”, about two hours each morning, and sometimes for a few hours each afternoon. This would mean, when at work, there would be time where I can’t get home. So what i’d do, is find a convenient cafe/restaurant, and hang about there until the urges passes. I found that Pizza Express was very sympathetic to me – I’d go there, order a sparkling water, maybe a little nibble, and read my iPad… going back’n’forth. Sometimes it results in my water-or-whatever being taken away, the waiter thinking i’m done with them, but hay-ho, can’t really blame them.

There are some places though, that were very unsympathetic, and they’re hell…
– Can I use the toilet?
– It’s for customer use only
– I don’t mind leaving a tip, or buying a water. It’s, erm, err…. medical.
– Let me get my manager…..

All this time I’m shouting in my head “I DONT HAVE TIME FOR THIS, I HAVE IMPORTANT POOPING TO DO“.

When ya’ gotstah go – yah’ gotstah go.

Blokes can be Rank.

And then, there are those public toilets that are hell. Speaking to my female friends, they don’t seem to get this, they seem to be more evolved than us blokes…. Sometimes I’d go to the toilet, and they’d be piss all over the seat and the floor. Or the toilet would be filled with paper. It’s horrible and vile, it’s not funny, making me sit in your fucking piss. I don’t get it, I don’t get what goes through someone’s head that makes them think that’s an OK thing to do. It’s not because they’re drunk, I hope, because I see it in Supermarkets in the middle of the day.

Even if I didn’t have such an intimate relationship with that room, there are minimum-wage zero-hour-contract staff, who have to clean up after you. Let me say this in no uncertain terms – if you leave the toilet in a wreck, then you are a vile human being; you make this planet worst off, for your existence; Somewhere, there is a tree making oxygen, that you should apologize too.

Pooping: UR DOIN IT RONG

bookIn an attempt to educate myself on my body, I read the fantastic Gut: the inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ.

The books is right up my alley, it’s a humous take on the body, and how the digestive process works. It goes through the whole thing, from why we like what we like, to how the brain thinks when it sees something we fancy, right to the other side of things.

There’s quite a bit of chemistry going on, it’s quite amazing when you think about it, turning food and drink into chemicals that sustain you… taking all that goodness (or badness; depending on if you’re eating Sushi or McDs)… until all that’s left is waste. And there is mechanics, biology and pure physics going on too.

As it turns out though; I was pooping wrong all my life

In your tangled up mess of your guts, when sitting on a stall as one does, you don’t quite “Open the hatch”, as it were. Although it sounds a bit weird, and definatly feels weird to me; you’re better off Squatting. Presumably this comes from back in the day, when we were monkeys in the saharah desert, it was useful if we could stick our heads up over the grass, whilst vulnerable – without getting shit all over our legs.

In fact, just watch this video, it explains things pretty well….

…. as a sideline, does people really do all their poop’ing inside 2-3 minutes? How does anyone finish a Martina Cole book, that’s barely enough time to read the back of a shampoo bottle.

roundAs I’m quite a sucker for internet-fads, I thought i’d give this a try, but when I went to buy it, it was just shy of £30; just for a little stall. Plus, are toilets standard sizing? It seems a bit expensive to have a punt on.

So, I took to Amazon, and found a child’s stand that was perfect. The Small folding Step Stool from Blackspur is just right for me. Plus it folds up and you can put it to the side, just in case Nancy From Hollyoaks comes over for a hot date, and she starts asking questions.

But does it work?

sideIn short, yes, yes it does. I’m sure of it. I think it does… yes, it does.

It feels really strange, but it does work. Things just seem to move along a bit more naturally. I’m not saying there is a life-changing difference, but there defiantly is a difference. I stayed my Ma’s for a few days last week and took it with me, and on her Lav, it’s not really comfortable, because most of the weight has gone from the underside of your thighs + bum, to just the outside of your bum – it almost feels like if I was a bit smaller; i’d fall into the loo. On my home toilet though, I’m used to it now.

And soo…..

That’s my secret shame; I’d poop in my bedroom in a bucket. Now you know. Life can be hard for anyone with Gastro issues, and if you think about it, Eating and Pooping is one of the Definitions of Life. So it’s not plesant at all. In fact, it’s taken me a week to write’n’edit this piece, on the off-chance that I’m embarrassing myself unnessersarly [I have 18 revisions of this post].

There’s plenty more about Chrons, it’s ‘sister desease’ Colitis… and IBD in general. There’s the tiredness; the being so bungged up that you think your guts are litrally going to explode (and the relief when it call comes out; el’natural); the constant ‘urge’ to go to the toilet; the skin issues; the economy behind a Public building’s toilet paper, the conspiracy behind multipacks having less [toilet paper sections; sheets?], the dread when a resturant uses sandpaper as toilet paper; the “But my Gran’s Sister-in-law’s daughter’s wife has XYZ, and she just cut out ABC – you’ll be fine then / UR DOIN LYF WRONG”… and so much more, which i’ll write about in time.

Thank you for reading this piece of cathartic writing – I hope your Pooping goes OK & your Gameboy doesn’t run out of batteries.

  • P.P
  • Bobby

    I hope lots of people read this and try to understand what you and others are going through on a daily basis. I have a little understanding having suffered from IBS for a number of years. We all poop but don’t like to talk about it or even acknowledge that we all do it. It’s a normal human function, it’s just that for some people it becomes a problem. Lots of people worry about not being regular, having constipation, but they have no idea what someone with Crohn’s goes through and neither do I. A little understanding and compassion is called for. Not much to ask is it?

    • Thank you, Bobby – You’re spot on – It’s something everyone does, “Birds do it, Bees do it, even educated flees might do it; we all poop” !

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