I live with a dark, stinky secret.
My son is encopretic. In case you are lucky enough not to know what encopresis is (Oh, to be so blissfully ignorant!) allow me to fill you in. Bear with me, I’m not a doctor. I’m just a Mom who lives with it every day.
Encopresis is also known as “paradoxical diarrhea” which would be hilarious if it didn’t make me want to cry.
It’s basically a condition that happens when children withhold stool to the point of becoming very badly constipated. It can enlarge the rectum and damage the nerve endings to the point that voluntary control of the rectum is lost. Then (and this is my favourite part) softer stool ends up leaking around the blockage which causes what Wikipedia delicately refers to as “soiling”.
That means that shit is a big part of my life. It consumes most of my conscious thoughts. I am constantly on the alert for the smell of shit to the point that I sometimes smell shit that isn’t even there. I have to always know when he shits, how much he shits and whether or not he shits in his pants. I have had to clean shit off of walls, toys and some furniture. I am frequently scrubbing shit-smell out of my computer chair where he sits to play video games. Sometimes when I sit on my couch I get up and my ass smells like shit because he was sitting there earlier. And then I have to change my pants and scrub shit smell out of my couch.
One time, before we really clued in that something wasn’t right about his constant “accidents”, he laid a big turd in a heavy traffic area in the house. Then my husband (who was wearing shoes at the time, thank God!) unwittingly stepped in it and tracked it all over the house before he notice the awful smell. That was our turning point, when we knew we needed professional help. Shortly thereafter we were told that our son has ADHD and encopresis.
You know, I can deal with ADHD. It’s really tough but I can deal with that. I love my son very much. His ADHD is so much a part of him I’m often at odds with how much I resent the difficulties it gives him and how much fun his quirky impulsive behaviour can be.
But I cannot deal with the shit.
I cannot fucking deal with the shit.
I would really like to sit here and write something helpful and inspiring and wise. I would love to sit here and talk about love for my son helping me to overcome our difficulties and do some actual good for people out there who are suffering and struggling with the same difficulties. But for once, right now, I’m going to let myself be selfish and ugly and self-pitying because I’m so fucking tired of being strong and putting a smile on it so I can be the good Mom.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
It’s not fair! It’s not fair that it’s my job to make my kid sit on the toilet every day at the same time and he hates me for it! It’s not fair that I have to fight with him about it every day and that sometimes he finds ways to punish me for it. It’s not fair that I have to deny him things like summer camp because I’m afraid of what will happen to him if his friends find out.
I’m sick of everything smelling like shit! I’m sick of forking over $100 a month on laxatives for years on end! I’m sick of having to try to remove shit-smells that never seem to go completely away. Febreze will always, for the rest of my life, be heavily associated with the smell of shit. I’m sick of having to search all over the house for wherever he hid his shitty underwear! I’m sick of worrying about what will happen to him if he shits himself at school!
I’m tired of living my life trying to pretend that everything is okay; trying not to compare myself to other Moms with other families who don’t have to deal with shit beyond the age of three. I’m tired of having to remind myself not to think about “normal” or “should be” because if I do I might start screaming and not know how to stop. I’m tired of being such a failure!
We’ve been at this for four years. Four fucking years and no end in sight! I’ve been doing everything the doctor tells us and fighting so hard to do it and I’ve got nothing but a pissed off kid and a load of shitty underwear to show for it. And I’m just supposed to deal with that because that’s my job and that’s the shit end of the stick I was dealt. Because that’s what being a grownup means.
But for once, right now in this Dive, I’m going to complain Goddammit. After all the shit I’ve been through, I think I deserve that much.