Nobody told me there would be so much poop

Any parent knows that having children means that you will spend a certain amount of time dealing frequently with all of the various liquids and solids that will erupt from your child's body, often without warning. You know it is coming, you prepare yourself, and you spend the first couple of years handling it as gracefully as possible until you can get your little bundle of joy potty trained.  It's an oogy couple of years, that gets offset by all of the magical milestones (and truth be told, also gets minimized by your near-perpetual sleep deprivation). So when Ben was born in 1993 I was completely aware that I would be spending the mid-90's dealing with a reasonable amount of poop. I never imagined that eighteen years later my son's poop would still be dominating my life.

Where most kids become fully potty trained as toddlers, as recently as seven years ago Ben was still wearing diapers as he entered middle school. We had tried and tried, but to no avail. Our fortunes finally turned when Ben first entered a school that is designed just for autistic children. On his very first day of school there the teacher asked why he was still wearing diapers. Ben's mom tried to explain how hard we had tried, but the teacher cut her short and simply said, "No, we're done with diapers now. Just send him in to school in regular underpants and send in several changes of clothes."  We were skeptical, to say the least, but followed the instructions.  Astoundingly enough, within two weeks Ben was actually completely out of diapers and consistently going the entire day without any accidents.  We were overjoyed.

Not long after that, however, Ben started getting sick. We had no idea what was going on, he just couldn't keep any food down. He lost weight at an alarming rate, turning to skin and bones before our eyes. After six months of continual trips to the doctor Ben was finally diagnosed with acute pancreatitis which had been caused by several bile stones blocking his pancreatic duct. He spent more than five weeks in the hospital, and we were terrified pretty much the entire time. Once the stones were removed he started to improve dramatically,  and as he started to perk up his bowels kicked in as well. I still have burned into my retinas the last day he was in the hospital when he had a Bowel Movement of Epic Proportions. Truly, no human being should have been able to produce that thing -- certainly not an eleven year old boy who weighed only 57 lbs at the time.  (Well, honestly, he probably started that day at more than sixty pounds....)

The good news is that once he recovered from that hospital stay he really began to grow and thrive. His appetite returned, began to put on weight, and he started looking less like a scarecrow and more like a human being. But his GI issues persisted. For a few years he had a serious pica issue, and as a direct result he once had to be manually disimpacted in order to remove a significant paper blockage. After that procedure was over the GI doc came out to talk to us, and he commented that in all his years of doing that particular procedure it was the first time he had done one that didn't stink because it was all paper. Eventually we solved the pica issues, and things improved again for a while.

Then a few months ago Ben stated spontaneously wetting himself at school. At first we thought maybe it was a behavioral issue - perhaps he didn't like the tasks they were making him do in the classroom, or perhaps he was making a desperate stand to get back into diapers (he still tries to get us to buy him diapers whenever we go to the store). Very quickly it became apparent that this was not the case - whenever an accident would happen he would get a genuine look of surprise on his face. His body was simply letting go with no warning, and he was left dripping wet and humiliated. We really felt awful for him. As it turns out, his colon was so completely backed up with solid matter that it had begun to press directly on his bladder and was pinching off the related nerves. He simply could not feel the urge to go. I will spare you the graphic details of the ultimate solution, but suffice it to say the results were even more staggering than the day he left the hospital. But the look of joy on his face afterward? Now *that* was priceless. It was a true Guy Moment.

That was four months ago, and we had thought that we had solved the problem. Apparently we have not, because two weeks ago he began soiling the bed virtually every night. It's kind of cute when a ten pound baby poops - yeah, it's a little stinky and a little oogy, but it's really not so bad. When a fully grown eighteen year old man does the same thing, there is nothing cute about it.

So yesterday we wound up back at the hospital for an x-ray, and we were not in the least surprised to learn that Ben was again completely backed up. As of a few hours ago he has been getting double doses every half hour of a supplement that draws water to the colon. An hour from now he will get a dosage of a stimulant laxative. So far the dam has not broken, but I have no doubt that sometime this evening he will produce an epic amount of poop and then he will immediately feel better.  The poor guy just has to be miserable right now.

Once we are past the immediate crisis we will be spending some quality time with the GI doctor. My primary concern is for Ben to be happy and healthy. But I would be lying if I didn't admit that I am also really, really ready to be done dealing with poop. Eighteen, going on nineteen, years is enough....


Ben and Snow White

Ben and Snow White

About Shmoolok

The word "shmoolok" is a mashup of the longtime computer handles for my wife and myself ("Shmooby" and "Lokheed", respectively).

I originally created this website to be a place for my family to connect, but it has since grown into something a little different.

As for me -- I am a father, a husband, a son, a software developer, and a writer. On any given day I am not sure how good I am at any of those particular things, but I do try my best.

Thank you for visiting my website.

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Benjamin's Lullaby

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