I realised a few months ago that my friends and I talk about poo. A lot. It would be a different story I think if I didn’t have a bowel disease, and some up-tight friends. However my friends are so amazing and supportive, that when they ask about my problems they are quite happy to hear the gory details.
So much so that we end up swapping poo stories.
I even have some friends where we make a point of messaging each other when we are on the toilet!
In other circles of friends I have become somewhat of a poo guru.
I stand in a dimly lit room with incense burning, its quiet, a friend enters the room and kneels before me.
“Stephanie, I must confess, I have very bad diarrhoea, its been this way for a few days now. I just can’t control it and I don’t know what to do”
“My child,” I say putting my hand on their shoulder
“Take this packet of loperamide, strip your diet back to plain chicken, white bread and mashed potato and you should see some significant improvements within the next 24 hours. Use this sachet of Dioralyte wisely, it will help replace some of those salts that you’ve lost, and my child, if it does not improve go and see a doctor”
Yeah. So what actually happens is my friend tells me she’s got the shits and I give her the above advice.
Poo is such a taboo subject. Nobody likes to talk about it, and though I don’t think we should go around telling every one who will listen about our bowel movements, if there was not such a stigma talking about the subject, perhaps young people like myself and others might not feel so embarrassed about having IBD.
Try as hard as I can not to let the toilet be a focus point in my life, I can’t avoid it because ultimately I spend a hell of a lot of time in there! The things I’ve learnt in that space of time are amazing, when I was in hospital in the weeks leading up to my surgery I learnt how to French braid my hair properly because I was just so bored.
Now, when I’m really stressed and need a bit of a time out I find I think best when I’m in the toilet.
I’m happy that I’m not still in the phase of my life where I would have to plan days out around toilet stops in case I ever found myself short. My JPouch is strong enough now to be enable me to hold on until I need to. I think that is what a lot of the self conscious embarrassment stems from. You can’t control when you have to do one of the most simplest acts of a human. To control when you go to the toilet.
I don’t expect people to willing go around having a conversation about how they have pooped that day, but if the stigma around the subject lessened a little bit, perhaps it could take a little pressure of those suffering from an already stressful disease.