A convenience store with a bathroom sign hanging from the ceiling is show through infared vision with computerized notes along the sides, with a target on the bathroom sign.

Becoming the Poop Terminator

I hate moving. For me, it’s not the enormous life-changing event that most people might expect to be the worst part. For others, usually, the worst thing could be the frustration and anxiety while packing every single thing they own into a car or truck or even having to change your mailing address and house seeking. The finances of it all is a grief and a half! But as someone with IBS, my greatest gut-ache is with the trip.

Road trips have always been fun, in theory. Cruising down route 66 with your cool shades on, wind in your hair, and nothing but a new life in front of you. I, however, have found myself incredibly restricted with my long journeys.

A hate stopping to use the bathroom

I STILL feel bad having to ask to find a rest stop even if I’m with my own family. I don't want everyone's itinerary to be subject to my very personal bowels. Especially, when our route drove through rural Pennsylvania from Buffalo New York to Long Island. Hardly a stop for miles can be quite frightening; which just makes my IBS worse?!

So what did I do? Before I even step foot in a gas station I start out any drive with my IBS meds. Pop in the pill no matter what food I come across JUST IN CASE I have an accident, which I have, regrettably, had. How long is the trip? Can I afford to withhold eating just to survive altogether? Usually, I eat light or limit myself to carbs and crackers. Solid foods with little fat. I’m not a health nut by any stretch, but finding out what my unique triggers are has been helpful, if not frustrating with all my troubleshooting.

After 2 hours into my drive, my family and I pulled into a rest stop, so, I took my next step.

I analyze everything

Just Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his iconic role as the T-800, I use my poop vision to scan my surroundings and, within minutes, figure a plan of attack. I’ll check out the restroom situation. Unfortunately, for this gas station, it looked like hell.

So let’s just say that greatly limited my options. I wouldn’t be able to have any sort of sit-down meal and rather, snack on some Cliff bars for the next few hours until a different family member suggested a stop.

It’s in those crucial moments through combining my knowledge of triggers, checking my hunger level, considering the distance driven and road yet to be traveled, bathroom availability, and comfort that helped me make the 7-hour drive to our new home. This new-found knowledge of my body and its triggers is constantly put to the test. What used to be a fun and energetic move in my youth, has changed into a perilous trek akin to the Oregon trail with stakes that could not be higher. If I’m ever going to make this journey in my adult life, I better use my poop scan.

Was this all an elaborate way to directly compare myself to the absolute unit that is Arnold Schwarzenegger? Maybe. Is this a tactic to normalize IBS considerations? Absolutely.

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