Now I’m guessing with the title of this blog you are not expecting a literary masterpiece and it should come with some sort of public health warning so please be advised if you are eating read me later.
Now warnings out of the way I want to discuss the effects of chronic pain and my nerve damage on my toilet function, firstly I can guarantee the rhyme of “if you tinkle when you sprinkle please be neat and wipe the seat” that used to make me snigger so much as child is totally irrelevant to me now, as I cannot pee standing for a number of reasons firstly I cannot stand still for any period of time without my legs going numb so that would be an issue, secondly without my crutches or sticks my sense of balance is an issue, thirdly my nerve damage makes me feel like I want to pee frequently, but also prevents me from doing so until that desperation stage kicks in and even then I can be sat for a number of minutes trying to go to the toilet. Charming isn’t it – you have to love the way chronic pain affects every area of the body.
Then we come onto the effects of the pain meds, these can make me go days without going for a poo, or alternatively they can cause me to go several times in a day, there is no pattern or reason for the way it happens and I believe this is also linked to the nerve damage in my thoracic spine, the nerves in that area do after all control the bodily functions. It explains to why at times in high pain episodes that I am sick. Now where does this all link to the toilet epiphany title. Well we all make excuses at times to avoid doing some of the things that we find less enjoyable or more difficult than most, for me getting my head around mindfulness as a tool to help within my pain management jigsaw and practising it regularly is not easy for me. The results are not always tangible and certainly unless I am in an explosive mood the way it helps is not obvious to others. So one of the things we were encouraged to do on our 10 week programme was to have prompters, so by having a list of my exercise stretches on my fridge it reminds me each time I get a drink or go go in the fridge to do one or two of the exercises, just a few repetitions as little and often prevents intensive flare ups when I do them.
Many people are also guilty of saying I never have time to myself, or time in my day to do that, or time to practise that and here is my top tip, and I give it all to you for free. Use your toilet trips to grab 5 minutes peace and quiet when you can (difficult when a 3 yo wants to follow you everywhere), and when you can make them count, whatever it is you haven’t done or need time to do. For me it is a quick 5-10 minute mindfulness exercise there are a few different ones you can do and I shake it up and live on the edge doing different ones and they just help to focus me and set my mind into a better place. The consequence of this is the toilet epiphany! That moment when you think oh yes, or now it makes sense, or I wish I hadn’t broadcast my toilet habits on the world wide web, or wow I’ve finally remembered something etc so you get these moments and when they come they are great.
Take tonight as an example, my wife was speaking to me this evening about how one of the cleaners at her work had seen “Seachy” comment on something on Facebook that one of his friends had been speaking to me about. I recognised the name of the friend but not as one on my friends list and I am careful about who I accept as friends due to the nature of my wife’s job. It makes us super cautious and as a result my friends are my friends so people I know in real life who are friends not Joe Bloggs who is friends with Fred, who is the boyfriend of Nick that I know but real actual friends. Therefore my profile is private and I was desperately wracking my brains to remember the 6 or is it 7 degrees of separation when wham during my mindfulness it hits me, he must have sen a comment I made on a group, of course by the time I got back to my wife having finished cleaning my teeth I had forgtten but for a while at least I remembered. Next step pen and notepad in the bathroom