The Accident: An Embarrassing IBS Story
First, let me say that I never thought I would be brave enough to openly discuss such things. I am still quite uncomfortable about it, but I hope my shame will help others feel a bit better about their own embarrassing moments.
Of course, we should not feel ashamed. It is a medical condition that we cannot control. Despite that, I still feel deep shame about accidents. Perhaps the story of my second accident will help you feel better about yours.
It was a dark and stormy night
Okay. It was not really stormy, but I am going for dramatic here. Let me start by explaining that I have some mobility issues. I am an ambulatory wheelchair user. This means that I occasionally use a wheelchair, but I mostly walk with a cane unless I need to walk more than 50 to 100 yards. My mobility issues make it a race against time when an urge suddenly hits. Running for the bathroom is not an option. It is more like a penguin waddle all the way there. Oddly enough, it is about the same speed as a penguin.
It was a rare night when I was going to be home alone until late in the evening. My family made sure I ate before they all left for various events, and I had everything I needed within reach to minimize my struggle. I had snacks, my laptop, a tall glass of sweet tea, and the remote control. It was just me and the dog. Once I ate my dinner, I decided to watch a little television while I had complete control of the remote.
As I sat back and enjoyed my time alone, I felt a familiar cramping. It was not long before the gurgling started, and I knew I was running short on time. I had recently managed to walk down my hallway to the bathroom without my cane. It was the first time I had done so in over two years. I decided I could waddle my way down the hall quicker without my cane and struck out on my journey to the bathroom. That was a big mistake.
Leaving my cane behind was not my first mistake, but put a pin in that. I will come back to it. The first was deciding I had another minute or two after the cramping started. I should have headed down the hallway much earlier. If I had, things would have ended much better. Thanks to my hesitation, I only made it as far as the bathroom door before I knew I was a little too late. My heart sank, but my penguin waddling hastened.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I left my cane
I am circling back to the issue with my cane now. After I managed to make it to the bathroom and my body rid itself of everything I had ever eaten, I was left with the realization that I was stuck without my cane. I was exhausted from the walk there, and now I had to figure out how to clean myself up on my own without the assistance of my cane. This was a big problem. Would my family arrive home to find me sitting on the toilet, half-naked and calling out for help? I sure hoped not, but no matter what happened there was no way I was calling anyone for help.
To say I had put myself in a bad situation is an understatement. I sat there for several minutes trying to figure out how to tackle this. I removed my clothing and cleaned myself up with baby wipes. Thankfully, it was only a tiny accident rather than a huge mess. As awful as that was, it could have been much worse. I only needed new underwear after cleansing myself. The problem with that was I would need to go to my bedroom to retrieve them. At that moment, the bedroom might as well have been in another state. It was so far away for me.
The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves
So, there I sat and gathered my strength to make the journey from the bathroom to my bedroom. It’s about 10 feet. I grabbed every counter, door frame, and wall along the way and threw clothing around the room in search of clean clothing. Mind you, at this point my stance is like that of a cowboy in an old western and I am not wearing chaps. In fact, I’m not wearing anything below the waist. I am so thankful no one came home at that moment. Can you imagine if a burglar had broken in at that moment? I think they would have laughed themselves into a fit before leaving.
I managed to find underwear and put them on by myself. By this time, I was completely worn out and had to sit on the edge of the bed and regain strength to make it back to the bathroom to retrieve my pants. I sat there kicking myself for not thinking to bring my pants with me. I ended up making it back to the bathroom and then had to sit and wait for more strength to make it back down the hall to my cane. It took me a good 10 minutes to get back down the hall as I had to stop and rest many times along the way. Thankfully, I never fell. I was even more thankful that no one came home during the midst of it all.
All the world’s a stage, so laugh at my pain
Once I made it back to my recliner in my living room, I eyed my cane. That one decision to leave it behind caused me a world of grief. So, there you have it. It is not just the story of my last accident. It is also the story of why I do not try walking without my cane when no one else is home.
While it would have been nice to have some help, it was also less embarrassing to have no one witness the events that took place that night. Instead of keeping my embarrassment to a minimum, I decided to share my shame with the entire world in hopes it would make just one of you feel better about your own accident. I sure hope it helps someone. At the very least, I hope you cracked a smile and felt better about these situations. If not, my indignities are now on full display for no good reason. Please say that is not the case.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?