Caroline had a playdate this weekend, and her friend’s Mom and I were talking about anal retentive kids. One of her children had to be hospitalized for five days with an impaction. Five days of an adult strength fluid dripping through the veins before that five year old’s body could finally clear things out. My friend described the X-Ray showing his colon as “code brown” because it was so badly distended, and said he had to have several months of special meals producing soft stools before it reduced to its proper size.
I do not want to repeat her experience, but I see us steadily sliding down that path. We sprinkle fiber on Sam’s meals. We give him so many fluids he might explode. Hell, we feed the kid laxatives on a regular basis. And yet pooping is still a nightmare for him. He sits on the pot waiting for nothing to happen. Or the pain is so bad that he runs off and hides and craps his pants for the umpteenth time.
Or else, and this is by far the worst, he sits on the toilet screaming in pain, like his appendix is bursting. Listening to him wail makes my stomach hurt, makes my ass hurt, makes me want to cry with him. I understand constipation from my own experiences with it, but this is nothing like what I have familiarity with. Tonight, when the screaming started, I told him, “We are going to have to do the snorkel up your butt” our word for the enema “or else go to the hospital.”
He said, “I want to go to the hospital.”
Good lord. Wasn’t expecting that one.
I told him, “Well honey, you’d have to drink something yucky, and the first thing they’d try is the snorkel up your butt, so let’s do that at home, and if it doesn’t work, then we’ll go to the hospital.”
He was not impressed and remained noncompliant. Wouldn’t you?
His pediatrician, who has been fantastic with all of Caroline’s ASD ins and outs has been perfectly useless on this one. She wants me to pour prune juice down his throat and increase the fiber in his diet. Doc, if the kid eats any more fiber, I’m going to have to plant him next season and wait for him to come in for the harvest. If he drinks any more, he’s going to start floating. The issue here is one of control. This is a kid who cannot let go of anything, who is at an age where most kids feel their lives are out of their hands, and who has latched onto this one thing as something he can own. I have watched him lie on the ground rolling around fighting off the effects of five pediatric laxatives. I have seen him go five days without pooping at all then fill the toilet with enough excrement for several adults.
And yet this is the closest we have come to the hospital. He has only missed one day here recently, but the turds that have been, until tonight, getting past his defenses have been mediocre samples at best. Do you know, do you have any idea how maddening it is to engage in endless conversations with your spouse about the contents of the toilet bowl?
Tonight, since Scott was the one to see two nights ago’s deposit, he had the joy of trying to describe it to me. I asked, “Was it hard or soft?”
He said, “I didn’t touch it.”
“OK, but did it look like it was falling apart in the water, or did it seem to be still holding together?”
“Jessie, I don’t know. It looked like POOP.”
Yes, but what kind of poop. Because when your kid is telling you he’d rather go to the hospital than have an enema, these things matter. When he’s begging, following the enema, to be allowed to poop on the floor, these things matter. I actually agreed to let him poop on the floor, but when he discovered that I wasn’t going away to let him do it in peace, he climbed up on the potty, choosing privacy over getting the perfect squat. Before he got up there, he had leaked quite a bit of brown water onto the bathroom tile, which was when I started to fear we really were headed for the ER tonight. If he was suffering from something so big he could only get ooze around it, the trouble was immediate.
As soon as he got up on the toilet, he started making airy sounds. Less fart and more deflating tire. I’ve never heard him make those sounds before. Usually, the enemas produce a lot of screaming followed by sudden defecation when he can’t fight his body any longer. He’s left us steaming shit piles in the carpet, in the backyard (and oh GOD I know the neighbors thought we were torturing him, then; I kept waiting for the cops to show up that night), in the tub, and on his bed. But when he started to hiss like we were letting the air out of him, ‘scared’ turned into ‘terrified’ for me.
But he’d stopped screaming.
And whatever he was doing on the toilet, it didn’t smell like roses, so there was some hope.
Scott went in to ask him how things were going, and he said, “Go away, Daddy. I’m still thinking about the poop.” A few minutes after that, he called “I’m done thinking. You can come in now.”
And he had deposited something the size and shape of a corn husk in there. Sorry for the image. I didn’t want it either.
Hopefully, that’s got things moving again for him, but really, we’ll only know when I sit him on the pot again tomorrow. And the night after. And the one after that.
I am not looking forward to this week. Because the best thing I can say about it is that I hope it’s going to be really shitty.
Since this post, which was written last year, Sam has gotten a hold of his movements. We haven’t had to play H&GS for a long time (knock wood). But until he started medication, every single developmental milestone happened like this. It’s not a part of motherhood that I relish. But it certainly made for one of my favorite and most descriptive posts about motherhood
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.