Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Oops! I Crapped My Pants...

Does anyone recall the old SNL/Saturday Night Live days in the 80’s and 90’s when the show used to be funny? They would run these hilarious commercials, which were take offs from real TV ads…except with the SNL sickly twisted skit weaved in?

One of my all time favorites was a commercial skit called, “Oops, I Crapped My Pants”, which was a skit about adult diapers for bowel incontinence. If you’ve never seen it, here’s a link to view the piece if you’re so inclined:


I have always praised SNL’s comedy for the ways in which they could take such potentially devastating topics and turn them into humor more palatable for our fragile psyches. Let’s face it…bodily functions are just another part of life and we might as well embrace the humor in our body’s unpredictable way it keeps us real.

I have always held my head up high with pride when answering a resounding, “NO!” to my neurologist’s questions about bladder incontinence. I don’t have it and I don’t want it. I’ve got a sphincter that could hold back a small ocean.

But I’m very aware some of my MS friends are not so fortunate when it comes to pride in peeing. Bladder incontinence is an everyday occurrence for them because of their Multiple Sclerosis. And I offer my empathy in advance if you ARE afflicted with bladder incontinence currently because of MS or any other “leaky” disease.

As someone with MS, I will admit I do have my own “other” little hidden (or at least I think it’s not glaringly obvious?!) bodily function problem. Chronic diarrhea. Yes, you will read in most of the literature the majority of MSers generally experience chronic constipation because of medication side effects and/or neurological damage. But there are those of us who suffer nearly daily diarrhea and urgency. And I’m not talking about a leisurely stroll to the bowl to lighten the load here. I’m talking BOWEL URGENCY! There are some days I would stomp a small child to death just to assure I “make it on time”. I’ve even considered permanent track shoes sewn on my feet, but this isn’t conducive for comfort reasons.

You may be thinking by now, “Bowel and bladder urgency or incontinence is no laughing matter”, but I’m here to enlighten you with the idea maybe, just maybe, it should be. After all, we Mser’s can’t help it. The working pipes we were born with are a thing of the past and more than likely, there’s little you can do to change your bowel/bladder problem now. I know if you did have that Almighty Power, you’d have already waved your magic wand and tightened up your own ship. But you can’t. Your MS didn’t come with a Harry Potter wand. It instead came with a bunch of “crap” (sometimes literally) you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

For me, embracing my “potty humor” is a way to pass through what used to be embarrassing circumstances. I say used to be because I finally realized the embarrassment part was optional. Is it really that intolerably gross to accept what goes in must come out…one way or another? And aside from the physical complications of incontinence and/or urgency, who REALLY cares if your bladder or bowel leaks? Truth be known, probably only the “leakee”.

I encourage you to address your bowel/bladder issues head on with your medical provider and to do all you can do to maintain health with these issues to avoid other complications like skin breakdown or infections. But once you’ve done everything in your power to keep your body safe from disaster, let it go. Find the grain of humor in the big sandbox called Multiple Sclerosis. You thought bodily functions were funny when you were a kid…laugh so hard you pee your pants once in a while or, in my case, laugh so hard you “shart”. Uh...that’s a cross between a sh** and a fart…you get the picture.

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