Yep, the dreaded poo. I’m sure most of us have had the situation where we’ve had a bit of a dodgy stomach… suddenly it hits you, you need to find a toilet, AND FAST! You are riddled with the fear of not making it in time… But what happens if you’re a bit slow on your feet and when you stand up, it all comes out?
Bowel movements, we all have them, but they are usually a taboo subject. When you get on in years it’s harder to get to the toilet in time. I well remember taking Ma to the toilet while shopping and having a lady beg me to go and look after her mother, who was on the toilet, while she sort help. This lady had made a big mess of herself and was stuck with me, a stranger. I remember her saying to me that she was useless and that her daughter would never take her out again and why was she still alive when she wasn’t any use to anybody? All I could think about was that it could have been my Ma. Ma has had similar occurrences but they’ve all occurred at home and usually when I’ve been there.
Ma has suffered from chronic constipation due to her heavy doses of pain killers. Constipation can also make incontinence worse so if you can get into a good bowel routine it will make that better also. I can always tell when Ma is constipated as she is as cranky a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. The Continence Foundation of Australia was a great help with Ma’s incontinence and helping to sort out Ma’s bowel habits. This is a free service.
I have tried to increase Ma’s fibre input. There are many cereals out there that say they are ‘high fibre’, make sure you read the label to see how much fibre they contain because a lot of them don’t have that much! Rule of thumb, the worse it tastes, the more fibre it has! I also have a great repertoire of desserts, cakes, slices and dinners which all contain high fibre. Keeping their fluid intake up is also important. Ma used to have a routine of laxatives which included 1-2 sachets of Movicol every second day and a Coloxyl every day which worked quite well. This would be different for other people. She would also take Actilax if all else failed.
In the last few weeks she has had the opposite problem, for what reason, I can only guess. She has been on a bucket load of different antibiotics so I’ve put her on a probiotic. Today was a bad day.
- Always keep wet wipes and disinfectant wipes in the toilet. When things get messy they are worth their weight in gold! Make sure there is a plastic bag on hand for disposal of wipes as your septic system won’t be happy if you flush them.
- I also keep disposable gloves on hand for major clean-ups.
- Disposable cloths are also a wonderful investment. I use them when I’m showering Ma to get rid of any ‘crusty demons’ still lurking.
- Make sure you keep their nails clean. Lots of nasties can get lodged there and cause infections.
- The wet wipes are also handy for them to wipe their hands on instead of trying to get into the bathroom.
- Make sure you keep a check on their bowel movements, keep an eye out for constipation and treat accordingly.
- Never, under any circumstances, blame them for having an accident. The can’t help it and they already feel bad enough. A lot of compassion and humour is they way I handle it. Remember, it could be you one day.