Friday, August 16, 2013

let the games begin!

Several months ago, I wrote that one of our children was struggling with bedwetting and I asked for recommendations on how we might curb this issue.  People came forth with all kinds of wonderful advice including the suggestion that we purchase a bedwetting alarm.

(Unfortunately, when I was trying to troubleshoot issues with my blog earlier this year, I deleted all of the comments so none of those excellent suggestions are visible anymore.)  

Since then, I've had several people ask me how things have been going.  And I haven't provided an update because the problem hasn't really been cured, despite our best efforts. 

The bedwetting alarm really seemed to work at first.  We bought a Rodger Clippo and it woke our sleeping child up with its vibrations and loud beeping noises.  So we followed the instructions as they were written and once our child was waking up before the alarm went off, we assumed we were done. 

But just about the time I was going to post an update, the bedwetting started again and we had to repeat the process from the beginning.  Over the past year, it has come to the point that our child is so desensitized to the alarm that whenever it goes off, they either sleep through it, or rip it off - throw it on the floor - and keep on sleeping. Or, they'll only partially wake up.  I've lost track of how many times I would hear stirring in the middle of the night, only to find my child peeing in a corner, closet, or on the side of their dresser.  

Charlie is a much more patient person than I am, and since he is the one that is home during the day, he is the one that carries the burden of doing laundry.  But last week, when Charlie was out of town in California for a week, that burden fell to me. And after the fourth straight day of changing sheets, I called the pediatrician and said, "I think we have a problem here. You need to either give them medication to make it stop, or you need to give me medication so I don't care anymore."

We set up an appointment and as luck would have it, our doctor is chief of staff for pediatric gastrointestinal disorders - something or other - for the northern hemisphere. 

Last week, when we first met, the doctor theorized that our child was constipated and the impaction in their bowels was putting pressure on their bladder, hence the reason they'd be springing leaks both day and night.  "This is a very common problem for children," the doctor assured us.  So she sent us in for an x-ray and the results indicated that our child wasn't just constipated, they were severely constipated. On the x-ray, it looked as though they've got poop coming up to their esophagus. 

This really surprised me because our children eat so much fiber in the form of fruit and bran, that I can't imagine how anything stays in?  When I asked our child if they go poop every day, they sheepishly shook their head and said no.  "So, when's the last time you went poop?" I asked.  My child tilted their head to the side and had to think for a few seconds before responding, "I can't really remember. Last weekend sometime?" 

Wh... WHAT?  


But that's when our doctor told us that a lot of children in this age range, withhold their poop because either they don't want to go in a public place (i.e., school or camp) or they are too busy doing other things they don't want to take a REST in a ROOM that is specifically designed for such activities as voiding your body's waste byproducts. And then - because children fight the temptation so much, the rectum can become so dilated and swollen that nerve damage occurs and a child doesn't even sense that they have to go anymore.   

Today, we had a follow up appointment with the doctor and were started on a 3-day regiment that is effectively intended to pressure wash our child's colon.  There will be Fleet enemas, magnesium citrate, mineral oil and Miralax. Our child totally understands what is going on and is fully on board. And because Charlie is a great Dad, he's told our child that he, too, will be undergoing this colon blow exercise so our child isn't pooping up a storm - all alone.  Of course I'd like to join in too, but seeing as there are only three bathrooms in the house - I don't think it's a wise idea if all of them are occupied for the next three days. Which is highly likely, since according to the doctor, most people carry between 8-12 pounds of fecal matter.  

Tonight, when we poured out the first doses of medication, our child and my husband clutched their little cups of mineral oil and tapped the tops together to say, "Cheers!" Then my child yelled, "Fire in the anchor!" before they both downed their first cup with big smiles. 

(I think what they meant to say was either, "Fire in the hole!" or "Anchors aweigh!" but I got the gist.) 

The smiles didn't last long on either face. Something tells me they both thought the mineral oil would taste like peppermint candy or something delicious as opposed to something vile like ... mineral oil.  

So now ... we wait. 

Perhaps I should use this time to run out to the store and pick up some potpourri. 


  1. Best of luck, Jen, this is a tough situation. Not seriously uncommon and yet still not fun. I hold your family up to the Universal Healing Power as you travel this path to better health.

  2. I hope this cleaning resolves the problem for your child.

    And I LOVE that Charlie is willing to take part in this ordeal to make the child feel better!
    You and the kids certainly hit the husband and daddy jackpot!

  3. I had severe constipation as a child from drinking way too much dairy, but not the bed wetting issue. The regimen you're going through, I received at age 12. Like the doc said, children hold because they're busy but them it became painful so I would hold off as long as possible. That, of course, only makes the issue worse! I nearly gave up milk drinking entirely as a result! I hope both you and child get some much needed relief!

  4. I am SO subtracting 10 lbs from the number on my scale from now on!

  5. Oh no! Hopefully clearing out the plumbing helps with the bedwetting issue! When I worked in a nursing home we'd have patients who had to take something called GoLYTELY to clear out their colon. What a terrible name for a medication...

  6. Thanks for the well wishes!

    So far, so good. We've had two perfectly dry nights ...

  7. Thank for updating. My link hasn't worked in a while so I am just updating myself on this stuff. Sorry the alarm didn't end up working long term. Good luck with all of this and glad 2 nights have been dry. : )

  8. So - one of my friends on facebook just posted this - Normally I wouldn't take any notice except that I had just read this post! Anyway, it talks about how using a step-stool in front of the toilet can help a person avoid constipation.

  9. Have you read the book It's No Accident? (
    The mother of one of my students passed it along- interesting read.

  10. I am interested to hear a follow up from this post. My seven year old son is struggling with the same thing, although I'm not certain his is due to constipation...let us know how it is going!