Recently some of the plumbing issues in this house have been reversed and instead of hearing me yell from the restroom, “JUST GO AWAY. GO. AWAY.” it’s been Jon who’s been trapped in the stall moaning, “NOT GOOD. THIS IS NOT GOOD. NOT. GOOD.”
At first we thought we might have eaten a bad avocado, and one night last week Jon could visibly see gaseous air moving through my stomach like an alien lizard. But my misery ended within a few hours. His had only begun. And it’s still going, bless his semi-constipated soul.
I use the term semi-constipated very seriously because I would not call what Jon is going through constipation. I normally wouldn’t even call it semi-constipation BECAUSE HE IS POOPING AT LEAST ONCE A DAY, but he says he’s in pain and he’s allowed to have pain. So I’ll grant him semi-constipation. I will not grant him full-blown constipation, not until he goes at least five days, and then when he passes it he has to come show me what it looks like because if it looks like it didn’t hurt then it doesn’t count.
What I most certainly won’t grant him is the metaphor he used last night to describe what it was like to pass a smallish cheeto-sized specimen earlier in the day. He said — and I can’t believe after all we’ve been through that he would actually say this — he said, “It was like labor pain what I went through today. All that work, and it was just so little.”
“You didn’t just say that,” I told him.
“Well, it was really painful,” he continued to explain.
“But you did not just compare a cheeto-sized poop to a baby.”
“I thought you were on meds. I thought I could joke about this.”
“Oh, I’m on meds,” I assured him, “but when it comes to labor pain and your little poop YOU HAD BETTER NOT EVEN LET THOSE TWO THOUGHTS ENTER THE SAME TIME ZONE IN YOUR HEAD.”
And then I pointed out that cheetos don’t have SHOULDERS that twist when they exit the canal, nor did he have to have his canal stitched — with a needle and thread — nor did he have to cradle that cheeto immediately afterward to his hardened boob and coax it into sucking his nipple.
“Okay, okay, bad metaphor. I’ll give you that,” he quickly apologized.
“BAD metaphor? BAD? DO I NEED TO REMIND YOU WHAT IT WAS LIKE FOR ME TO USE THE BATHROOM AFTER LABOR?”
I knew I didn’t need to remind him because the first time I pooped after labor is a moment in history that is etched irrevocably into every lobe of Jon’s brain. I’m sure he’d like to forget it but I think it’s the Universe’s special way of letting him share in the pain that was bringing a baby into this world, pain that just keeps on giving.
One of the seven prescriptions I carried home with me from the hospital included a very potent stool softener that was supposed to make my first “experience” after labor at least bearable. Since I had been cut and torn during delivery I was worried about my stitches and that my “experience” might dislodge them or cause more damage. Combine that worry with an already malfunctioning system and you have a woman SEVEN days after labor still waiting to have her experience. I WAS A SEVEN DAY POST-LABOR POOP VIRGIN.
I started to really worry on the fourth day so I started taking a fiber supplement in addition to the stool softener. But what I didn’t know was that my system was turning that fiber into cinderblocks and using it to build a fortress in my intestines. By the sixth day I could barely walk, and on the morning of the seventh day I called in reinforcements: my mother, The Avon World Sales Leader.
My mother drove up immediately stopping on her way to buy, ahem, gear and a whole cart of groceries she thought we might need including food and milk to last us at least until Leta leaves for college. When she showed up I experienced that mother-daughter collapse onto the floor and cry thing, WHAT IS IT WITH THAT? Leta will be smiling and perfectly happy with the babysitter, but when I walk into the room it’s like OH GOD, THE AGONY THAT IS LIFE! PLEASE MAKE THE PAIN STOP! And she will reach for me like water in a desert, that which will save her yet simultaneously makes her so miserable.
The moment I saw my mother that morning I started bawling and shaking my head and denying that I had a problem. “I CAN’T DO THIS!” I shouted at her, and then I collapsed at her feet begging, “WHY? WHY ME? WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN TO ME?” I don’t think Jon had ever seen me so desperate and any feelings he had about why I just wouldn’t let him help me evaporated instantly and he threw up his hands. “She’s all yours,” he told my mother.
My mom handed me the gear, The Ever Infallible Enema, and told me to head for the bathroom. “You have to do this, Heather,” she said matter-of-factly, her intestines conveniently free of cinderblocks that had to be passed through an already swollen canal. “You can’t go another day.”
I knew this, I knew I had to do what had to be done. I’d done it before but never after having an eight pound mellon rocket out my vagina. I kept telling myself that it would be over soon, but I knew that I was lying to myself. Who cares that it will be over soon, bitch? I HAD TO GET IT OUT FIRST.
So I gave myself an enema and sat down on the bathroom floor to cry. Jon kept knocking on the door to see if I was okay and although I knew he meant well I was in so much pain that I wanted to dunk his head into the toilet. After almost ten minutes things started to happen. Enemas are supposed to work after just five minutes, but I had SEVEN WHOLE DAYS of stool softener and fiber lodged from my large intestine all the way up to my ears.
Every time I got up to sit on the toilet, however, things stopped working, and the only thing I could think to do was to get into the bathtub. Yes, the bathtub. The place where we washed our hair and innocent bodies. I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t have a choice. Either I poop in the tub or I DIE FROM NOT POOPING.
In my hysteria I filled the tub with water thinking that it would calm me down, obviously not thinking about what things would look like after the “experience.” And then it happened. You know. I had another baby in the bathtub, a floater the size of a men’s size 13 clog. And then I gave birth to six or seven other babies, all floaters like their older brother.
I stood up and washed off almost passing out from the pain and exhaustion, and you know what? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT I’M ABOUT TO TELL YOU?
My husband toweled me off, helped me put my clothes back on, and then he did what no human being on this earth should ever have to do and HE CLEANED UP MY MESS. Not only did he see the mess, he physically transferred it from the bathtub to the garbage can outside and then scrubbed the tub with bleach. He says he can still remember being astonished by how much it seemed to weigh.
So you see that I will gladly grant Jon his semi-constipation. After that morning I’ve granted him a lot of things because people, he picked up my poop. And you have to ask yourself, would my partner pick up my poop? And if you think the answer is NO then JUST WHAT DOES IT MEAN to be a partner? ASK YOURSELF THAT.