I’ve never really had trouble with my bowels, specifically in the #2 department. I guess it’s just one of the few things that’s come naturally to me in life and, my god, what a blessing it is. Bot has always had trouble pooping and by “trouble” I mean the kid cannot shit on a regular schedule for the life of him. Some days he can’t shit at all. He’s been on and off MiraLAX his whole life, we’re always trying to find inventive (and welcomed) ways to get more fiber into his diet and recently started him on an additional probiotic. But a lot of the time it’s to no avail. He’ll grunt and scream trying to get something – anything – out. He’ll all but lay on the toilet trying. And oftentimes he comes away with a rabbit nugget.
It’s painful to watch and frustrating to try to figure out. Mainly because the human body is pretty amazing. I mean, I grew two humans in mine and it definitely seems like, in the very least, every human body should be able to shit when it needs to. In its most basic form, isn’t that what it was designed to do?
Fun fact: A kid can actually get so constipated they’re unable to put weight on their leg.
And it’s as shitty as it sounds. Oh, how do I know?
Last Friday morning I woke up before everyone else and decided to go grab a coffee. I had plans to work from home that morning before catching an early afternoon flight to Denver. I should have known my day – since it felt a little like a holiday of sorts – would not go planned because my kids are notorious for being “under the weather” on holidays and, now apparently, also “holidays”.
When I got back I could hear Abbott asking Seth when I was going to be home as I opened the door. Bot turned his head from his spot at the kitchen table with a big smile.
“Good morning, Abbott. How are you?!”
“WELP, my leg still hurts.”
I looked at Seth with my typical confused face. And he looked at me with his typical confused face. Seth, having been sick and in quarantine the night before (because – after all – it is the most wonderful time of the year), asked if Bot had hurt his leg. I didn’t think so? Our concerns lasted for only moments before we totally forgot about it. Bot seemed happy and, by default (because kids are weird), we both moved onto our normal morning conversations and routines. Seth got in the shower and I started cleaning up the kitchen.
“Mom. I have to pee!” Bot sounded annoyed.
“Okay, then go to the bathroom.”
“I CAN’T BECAUSE MY LEG. HURTS!”
In case you were wondering, yes, Bot still lives his life on an emotional rollercoaster.
“Okay? You can’t walk on it?”
“Um, ok. Do you want me to carry you?”
“Well what are you going to do? Sit there and pee your pants? No. ”
As I gingerly scooped him up, he awkwardly clung to my body, being sure to keep his leg straight. When we got to the bathroom, I went to stand him next to the toilet and as I bent over, he started screaming and clinging to me as if I was feeding him to a starved pool of flesh-eating fish.
“I DON’T WANT TO WALK!”
“Ok, whoa. I’ll just put you on the toilet?”
“Ok, well you have to pee! I’m putting you on the toilet so you can pee!”
Things escalate very quickly in our home. You’d think we were all from Jersey.
As I waited from him to finish, I hollered at Seth to see if Bot had walked to the breakfast table.
“No, he wanted to be carried.”
I asked Seth if Bot had walked at all that morning and he had not.
When he was done in the bathroom, Seth and I successfully bribed Bot with Halloween candy to try to take one step. He made it very clear he didn’t like the bribe but he wanted the candy. He hesitated and then went for it. His leg buckled immediately, he screamed bloody murder and fell on the floor. If his leg was okay, he would have FOR SURE kicked one of us in the shins while trying to kick us in our teeth.
I called the nurse’s line and she recommended taking Bot to the emergency room. So, Seth took Matty to school and I took Bot to the ER.
Let me summarize what happened at the ER.
- Bot got a wheelchair upon arrival.
- I said I thought his knee looked a little swollen. The doctor told me his knee was fine.
- Doctor ordered x-rays even though she didn’t think they’d show anything. And when/if they didn’t show anything, she wanted to do lab work.
- Bot didn’t love the x-rays but did love the idea of getting a picture of his bones.
- Bot spent the next two hours post-x-rays demanding to see the pictures of his bones.
- The pictures of Bot’s bones showed that Bot’s bones – specifically his hip – were fine.
- The pictures of Bot’s bones also showed Bot needs to SHIT. BAD.
- Nurse gave Bot a suppository when she came to put his IV in.
- If Bot could have, he would have set the place on fire.
- Bot took two giant dumps.
- Bot gave the nurse the business when she came to prick his finger because one of the tubes didn’t make it to the lab in time.
- Nurse tried to get the blood out of his IV instead.
- Bot got his finger pricked and officially decided he hated everyone.
- I cried, unsure of whether I should change or cancel my flight.
- Nurse said, “Sometimes kids who are constipated get hip and back pain and once they poop, it’s better.”
- Bot still refuses to walk.
- Doctor comes by to see if Bot will walk. She tries to bribe him with a Hot Wheel. He screams at her. She laughs at him. He screams more. She thinks he’s adorable. I want to set something on fire.
- Doctor says, “Sometimes kids just get inflammation or fluid in their hip and we don’t know why. It’s usually after they’ve had a cold – runny nose, slight fever etc. I don’t think he needs an ultrasound…I’ll be here all weekend, so if it doesn’t get better or you notice anything else, bring him back.”
So, one of two things:
- Bot either randomly had inflammation in his leg even though he hadn’t really had a cold or a fever. OR…
- We spent approximately 4.5 hours at the ER and probably thousands of dollars to find out Bot needed to take a shit.
My bets on the shit because by 7:00 am the next morning, he was running around like a well-oiled machine and happier than ever. Something I luckily witnessed via Facetime because, thank the heavens, I made it to the airport just in time (literally,12:45pm) for my 1:35pm flight to DCO.
Listen, it’s a blessing to have regular bowel movements. I get that more than ever now. And I want you to know if you’re in the same boat as Bot, my thoughts and prayers and whole-hearted cheers are with you.
That’s the cool thing about parenthood, you never stop learning borderline-useless information.