The other day I was working with my caregiver and I caught myself thinking about some of the things I ask for on a daily basis, and just how unbelievably bizarre they must sound the average able-bodied person.
I started to make a list of these particularly humorous statements that most people would consider very peculiar indeed! I found myself laughing out loud because I thought back to my life a decade ago and how I never would have thought I would catch myself asking people to do these particular tasks for me. To end the year on a funny note amidst a year of complete chaos I hope to leave you with a chuckle by the end of this article.
I’ve written about this topic numerous times, but when you are paralyzed you need help going to the bathroom. Plain and simple. When you (an able-bodied person) go to the bathroom you simply sit down on the toilet and poop. I, along with most other spinal cord injury folks, especially quadriplegics, do not have this luxury.
I do not have the ability to use my abdominal muscles to push out the poop. Probably too much information, I know, but that’s life. In any event, I have to put a suppository in my bum, let the poop come out, and then I have to have my caregiver put gloves on to go into my behind to get the rest of the poop out. Yes, it’s a pretty involved process, not particularly pleasant, but, hey, it is better than the alternative of going to the hospital because you can’t poop.
So, every morning during my “Morning Program” I ask some of the following questions:
1.) “How much poop did you get out of my bum?”
2.) “Okay, can you put your finger in my bum now to get the rest of the poop out?”
3.) “I think I’m constipated, can you put your finger up my bum and really get up in there up to the colon?”
I have suprapubic catheter meaning that I had a little operation where they put a hole in my bladder to put a catheter in permanently. I then run this catheter down my leg attached to a small leg bag with a little clip, so when I have to pee I get goosebumps. I then open the clip up, the pee drains from my bladder into the bag, and I then empty the pee from the bag into a small little cup.
I know it sounds tedious, but it’s actually pretty awesome because I pee more easily than a guy, can pee on a sidewalk, and never have to take my pants off to go to the bathroom. It rocks are actually. I wish I would’ve had this prior to my accident because when I think about all of the times I did pee in the forest behind a tree camping – I recall never quite getting the hang of aiming properly.
So, some of my funny quotes for when I have to pee include:
When out in public:
1.) “Baby (husband), can you pee me please?”
2.) “Let’s just pee by the tree”
When changing the catheter every two weeks:
1.) “Okay, just stick it in the hole, but be quick about it because I don’t want the hole to close up.”
2.) “Just push it in a little bit more, but not too much, I don’t want it come out the other side and get stuck.”
3.)“Make sure to sterilize the hole before you put it in.”
(There is little hole in your bladder where the catheter goes and cannot be pushed in too far otherwise it comes out the other end of your urethra. Since the distance from your urethra to the bladder is only a few inches for a woman; you have to be very careful.)
Since I am a magnet for pressure sores I have to be very careful when I am getting dressed. A small wrinkle can cause a red mark and turn into a giant open wound. Therefore, I have to make sure everything is super smooth and flat with respect my clothing.
1.) “Just stick your hand in my crotch to make sure my underwear are smooth.”
2.) “Can you please pull out my wedgy? I look like Steve Urkel right now. ”
3.) “Just stuff it in deeper” (referring to tucking my shirt into my pants)
Whenever I have my phone, bluetooth, water bottle, etc., I never really have a great place to put things; so an inordinate amount of objects always end up in between my legs.
Without further ado:
1.) “Has anyone seen my phone? Oh wait, it’s in my crotch.”
2.) “I lost my Bluetooth. Can you dig in between my legs to find it please? I think I lost it by my underwear.”
After my caregivers pull me back in my chair because I slide down:
1.) “Oh shoot, I think we lost the Bluetooth in my crotch again, but I can’t find it and I’ve looked everywhere. Hold on let me tilt backwards so you can stick your hand further up my bum under the chair cushion to see if you can find it.”
2.) “I have so many crumbs my crotch, could you grab the dust buster please?”
Since I am a magnet for pressure sores, I often get little red marks here and there on my crotch, my bum, my hip, etc. So, every time I get dressed in the morning or undressed at nighttime I have to have my caregivers inspect my vagina, my bum, and every other spot of my body.
Here are a few classic questions I ask on a regular basis:
1.) “Could you please put some honey on that red spot on my vagina?”
2.) “Can you really make sure to inspect my vagina for anything out of the ordinary?”
3.) “How does my bum look today?”
My life is far from normal, but no matter what trials and tribulations I may be going through, I always seem to find the humor in the smallest of comments. You have to, right?
After a year of incredible trauma with a global pandemic, tragedy, and hardship lurking around every corner; finding those small moments that make you giggle, smile, or outright laugh out loud can literally make the difference on the most trying of days.
Here’s to a 2021 filled with more joy than 2020. Remember – there’s humor to be had even in the darkest and weirdest of situations! If I can find them, I know you can too!