Thursday, August 02, 2007


If you're eating while reading this, STOP. Come back later when you're done. We're going to talk about scatological matters and it will get graphic.

We've taken a keen interest in poop lately here in Jenworld. Given that the youngest resident was potty trained four years ago, this is somewhat unusual. Unfortunately, the second-youngest resident in the house (aka Graceful) has made this necessary.

For several years now, Graceful has suffered from chronic constipation. Actually, to say that Graceful suffers is inaccurate. She deals with it, while the rest of us suffer, as the gasses build up within her body and then start to leak out after days and days of no go. Pete, Elegant, and I will be just gagging from the stench and begging Graceful to take a book, go into the bathroom, and PLEASE just sit and read for a while. The child could give fraternity guys a run for their money.

Right now, you're thinking, what's the big deal? Give the girl more fiber and she'll be fine. The thing is, fiber is not the issue. Graceful gets plenty of fiber, so much so that we joke that she's on the colon-blow diet. Seriously. She eats plenty of fruits, vegetables, and multi-grains. We make sure that applesauce and raisins are a regular part of her diet because they are almost as effective as prunes.

So what IS the problem? Simply put, Graceful doesn't consume very many liquids in any 24 hour period. You have no idea how relevant this is until you have to live with a child who doesn't drink. If left to her own devices, she'd probably drink only eight ounces on a hot day and less than half that on a cold one, while she really needs at least 30 or more ounces every single day. Graceful can eat as many prunes as her body will tolerate, but without water, she just won't produce ca-ca.

What happens then is that the shit just accumulates in her body, getting harder and harder, but not going anywhere. Eventually, she will go, but what she evacuates is rock hard and it always, always, always clogs our toilets. And that my friends is how we can track how often she goes, because Pete is always called in afterward to wear his plumber hat. This happens about twice a week. Sometimes, he has to use Serious Tools to get the plumbing working normally again. There's usually a whole lotta cussin' on those occasions.

We finally reached the point last year that we started forcing fluids. Whatever we pour for Graceful at her meals, she must consume, and all of it. If she comes home from school and there's water left in her water bottle, she has to drink that plus whatever she would have had with her afternoon snack. In that way, we can get at least 20-24 ounces of liquids into her every day. But it's not enough and it's a daily struggle to get her drink what she does. She argues with us and it's just no fun to deal with in general.

We have talked with Graceful about how she needs to drink more liquids. We've explained why she needs to. Nothing. We've had the pediatrician talk repeatedly with her about this. No go.

At Graceful's back-to-school check up last week, the pediatrician and I talked about this matter, as we have for several years now. She (the doctor) decided that enough is enough. It's time to pull out the big guns.

So we're giving Graceful a dose of MiraLAX (I LOVE that name!) every day. Her job is to report to me when she craps, which I then note on the calendar with a discreet notation of "GB BM". The goal is to get her cleaned out and then going every single day for several weeks, at which point she should be on a regular schedule of producing soft mushy doo doo.

It took three days of MiraLAX before she pooped for the first time and then three more days before it happened again. Miracle of all miracles, that was also the first time in YEARS that Pete didn't have to plunge the toilet, which makes up for the time before that when it took him more than 30 minutes to get things flowing again. The third time was a day later and then another one the next day. Unfortunately, nothing happened yesterday or has occurred yet today, but I have faith in the power of laxatives.

So Poop Watch '07 is in full swing here in Jenworld. I can laugh about it now, but if Graceful ever reads this blog, I'm sure she'll be horrified that I addressed this topic. But, I always go in where angels fear to tread and write about things as honestly as I can, and this is what's going on in our lives this week.

And, most importantly, our toilet plungers will hopefully soon be covered in dust and cobwebs from lack of use.


QueenMother said...

I can empathize. The lawyer was SO backed up on our vacation. He refuses to poop on vacation unless it is a dire situation. We go in poop watch mode whenever we take a trip.

I hope everything comes out ok in the end. (OK-I couldn't resist!)

erin said...

Yikes - how does that not make her incredibly cranky and distracted? (The not pooping regularly, I mean - not the forced beverages!)

Didn't someone have to be evacuated from Survivor or one of those reality shows b/c they refused to poop and got sick from holding it in? I wouldn't want to do that there either, but that's just one of the many reasons I'd never be on a show like that!

Josie said...

I can relate.
When I was taking steroids for my Lupus, it didn't matter what I drank, ate, took - nothing. For days.
I was miserable, cranky and the b word.
How on earth does she stay so happy??
Good luck with Poop Watch 2007 - my fingers and toes are crossed for ya.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

I can't believe she's not pooping on MiraLax. Zack got mega diarrhea with it!

Jennifer said...

Lori: No shit. (Really) She went from Tuesday to today (Saturday), when I finally insisted that she take a book into the bathroom and read for two chapters. The MiraLax is so not doing the trick as well as I'd hoped. I'm ready to start pureeing raisins and mixing them in with all of her food.