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  • Writer's pictureWifey

Hubby Pooped the Bed and I'm Counting my Blessings

1/10/2020


11am

Hubby pooped the bed this morning. Everything started off okay – we were both in good moods. He wanted to stay in bed – so he enjoyed breakfast in bed while watching a football news program. I went in to check on him, clear his plate away and just harass him in general. (Which I enjoy doing periodically!)


I was teasing him that he should get up and do the chores – that he had laundry, dishes, dusting, vacuuming, mopping…alllll just waiting for him! His eyes big, he said, “No! Noooo! NOOOOO!” So of course, I reply, “Yes! Yesss!!! YEEESSS!!!” He still is saying no. So, I say, “Why not??” I see the wheels turning in his brain. “Because….” He says. He has a twinkle in his eye…ok, I’ll bite… “Because why??” He stutters, "Bbbbecause…I’m, I’m handi….handi….handicapped!!!” LOL!! He cracks me up. I knew he was going to say this. It’s his favorite go-to quip when he doesn’t want to do something. Or if he is losing when we are playing a game…he tells me, “You are taking advantage of a disabled person!” LOL!! I’m so grateful that hubby has kept his sense of humor.


We are going back and forth about who’s going to do the house work, when he says he needs the bathroom. Okey dokey. Hubby requires max assistance getting in and out of bed, so I lift his knees and place his feet flat on the bed and help him position his arms in preparation to turn onto his side. (I think this technique is known as a “log roll.”) I place my hand on his far knee, and his far arm, and help him roll his body onto his side (keeping his spine straight) so that he ends up on his side facing the edge of the bed. And SURPRISE! Hubby pooped and it is oozing out of his underwear (out of respect for his dignity we call them underwear but it is an adult diaper) and is globed/smeared/puddled on the mattress pad. I am so very grateful that everything landed on that pad and nothing made it to the sheets! Which I just washed yesterday. Sigh.


{Side Note} - If a “normal” person wakes up each day with 100 energy credits in their energy bank, I think a caregiver starts their day with half of that. And, for myself, I’ve noticed that when something goes wrong, or there is an unexpected unpleasant event – there is an immediate dump of energy credits. Whatever the opposite of an adrenaline rush would be. When I rolled hubby over this morning and saw the mess – everything that I would have to do flashed through my mind and my energy level plummeted as if I’d just done it all. But of course, I hadn’t…so now I have to actually do everything required to clean this situation up with even less energy than I had just a moment ago. It is a strange and exhausting phenomenon. - {End of Side Note}


I started thinking immediately about the challenge of finding joy when in the midst of an unpleasant situation. How does one feel gratitude while wiping poop off everything? (And by everything, I mean everything! The hubby, the bed pad, the wheel chair, the toilet, the floor, the urinal, the towels, etc., etc.) I decided to purposefully try and think of things to be grateful for during this unpleasant, exhausting, poop event.


Hold on…I have to go wash my hands again…for like the sixth time…as just writing about it makes me feel dirty.


Ok, I’m back. Boy, am I grateful for indoor plumbing and hot water on demand.


My first thought was, "This is impossible." There is absolutely nothing to be grateful for in this situation. This is never going to work – there is poop everywhere...not...not...blessings, for heaven's sake. It’s just hubby and me, so clean-up is all on me. This exercise is pointless. I believe in “positive thinking,” but it’s for after you made it through the unpleasant event…on reflection. Not during. Not while wiping poop off everything. Okay, no. If positive thinking works, it should work best of all during a situation like this. I pressed on. (When you are caregiver there really isn’t another choice.)


I gloved up. Alright, I’m grateful for gloves. Very grateful as I feel that if I have my box of disposable gloves, I can do anything! Maybe I can do this - find gratitude-in-the-midst-of-unpleasant-situation thing. Maybe. Let's expand that thought about gratitude for the disposable gloves…I’m grateful for all things disposable…gloves, wipes, paper towels, UNDERWEAR. We go through a lot of towels and washcloths…it is hard to imagine how much more washing I’d have to do without the disposable stuff.


Washing…I’m grateful for modern washing machines….and my washer even has a sanitize setting. How awesome is that!?! I’m grateful for these modern conveniences. What if we lived in the days before electricity? What if I had to boil my cloths in a tub over an open flame outside, and scrub them by hand and use lye to get them clean? What if I had to hang the clothes to dry? I’m very grateful I don’t have to do any of that.


Hubby is too weak to stand unaided or to stand aided for long. I got the sit-to-stand lift and all my cleaning supplies together and started the hubby clean-up process. (I’ll spare you all the gory details.) I must tell you, the sit-to-stand lift is amazing – it was a big investment financially, but it makes life at home possible for hubby. Otherwise, if we didn’t have it, I don’t think I’d be able to move him on my own from the bed to the wheelchair, wheelchair to toilet, etc. I’m so, so grateful that we were able to afford one and that hubby is strong enough for us to use it instead of needing a full Hoyer lift.


After he was cleaned up and dressed for the day, I rolled him in to the living room to relax and watch TV. (His favorite pastime.) Once he was settled, I cleaned the bathroom, took out the garbage and then gathered up all the towels, washcloths and bedding that now need to be laundered.


As I did all these chores, I continued to try and think of other things that we have in our lives for which I’m grateful. Probably the most meaningful thing that came to mind was that being a spousal caregiver is an opportunity for a very intimate bonding experience with your partner. I am assisting hubby with his every bodily need and trying to help him process his emotions and feelings about the experience. I’ve found that if I get upset or mad that makes hubby upset and mad. If I remain calm and positive and matter-of-fact about the situation, he will too. We are a team and this caregiver experience has reinforced that for both of us.


Was it helpful to focus on gratitude during an unpleasant situation? It was. When I first started it wasn’t easy to think of things to be grateful for and the first few ideas felt fake. The negative talk-track in my mind was making fun of me, “Oh, you’re grateful for disposable gloves? Lame!” But as I continued, I felt more genuinely grateful for the things that came to mind. The clean-up experience was still unpleasant, but it wasn’t horrible. It also served as a nice mental distraction from the clean-up task. Both hubby and I were able to calmly move through the chore. I may have even cracked a few poop jokes. Again, I’ll spare you the gory details. 😊


11:30p – Update


I put hubby on the toilet before heading to bed and discovered that he pooped his pants. Again. Sigh. I wanted to throw myself on the floor and throw a tantrum. I wanted to yell at him, "Why didn't you say something?!?" He can't. I know he can't. His brain is broken. H can't always tell when he needs to go. We normally head to bed at 10p, but we stayed up late tonight to finish watching a movie. It is never worth it, I know better. When hubby is tired, everything is harder for him, including bowel control. This is my fault. I know we need to stick to a schedule. We could have recorded the end of the movie to watch tomorrow. This is my punishment. Why didn't I…ooops…. sorry, a bit of negative thought backsliding took over. I thought it was hard to be grateful during this morning’s clean up, but it was MUCH harder to do it AGAIN at the end of a long day. I had to talk myself into it, but I did it.


I am grateful that the mess tonight was all confined to his underwear, so it was a much smaller, easier clean-up job. I'm grateful that hubby doesn't have bowel incontinence but only once or twice every few months. I’m grateful that after I’m done with this chore I get to go to bed. I’m grateful and glad I remembered to turn on the mattress warmer, so when I do finally get myself into bed, the sheets will be nice and warm. I’m grateful that I only need to walk the garbage bag out to the trash can in the garage and that on garbage day, I only need to drag it to the curb for pick-up. At our old house out in the country I would have had to heft the can into the back of the car and drive it down a shared garbage corral for pick-up. It’s so wonderful to be in town.


I’m grateful that after the morning we had, we had a pretty good day today. Both of us were in good spirits.


At the end of the day, I can say that I really enjoyed the practice of purposefully trying to think of my blessings while in the middle of dealing with an unpleasant situation. After I got going tonight, it felt meditative.


I will be keeping this practice up.







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