It has been far too long since I have posted anything here. However, that is about to change. October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month. Throughout October I plan to post various pieces of information about spina bifida. I will give you facts about this birth defect. I will also provide some of my own experiences that relate in some way to these facts. To that end, today I will provide you with one of the most challenging aspects of living life with spina bifida.
Many people with spina bifida have limited bladder and bowel control. This can present challenges not only for those of us who work full time, but also for those who enjoy being active socially. Perhaps, one of the best illustrations of how challenging all of this can be is a story that I haven’t shared with too many people. I hope it is one that does not offend. However, one of my goals with this blog is to be as genuine as possible.
Amanda and I had been seeing each for several months when we were out one night on a date. We had decided to go and get some pizza. After that we had plans to go to a movie. The pizza place we chose was one that neither of us had ever tried. That perhaps was the first mistake of the evening, as the pizza was very greasy and not very appetizing. Despite this we were just enjoying being together. We finished our pizza and then decided we’d go grab some snacks that we could sneak into the movie. As we were at the convenience store picking out our treats, my stomach began to rumble. If you have ever seen the movie Dumb and Dumber, just picture the scene when the character Harry unknowingly ingests a laxative and then experiences a serious bout of gastric distress.
My stomach was making all sorts of noises and I knew it was time to get to a restroom. However, I decided that I could wait until we got to the theater before I took a pit stop. This was not very wise, as I did not quite make it to the restroom before the floodgates opened. While I had made a beeline to the restroom, Amanda had picked up our movie tickets and had headed into the theater.
So, there I was in the restroom, trapped! This was one of the most sinking feelings in the world. How was I going to get myself put back together after having messed my pants? I had no spare outfit with me. Maybe I could just spend the rest of my days in the stall of that men’s restroom. I certainly couldn’t face Amanda. However, I plucked up my courage and sent her a text letting her know what had happened. She then proceeded to get a refund for our tickets, while I sheepishly made my way back to the car. Fortunately, we were not too far from a clothing store where I was able to replace my soiled clothing and once again make myself presentable to the world.
It was this night that I knew Amanda was the one for me. She acted like it was no big deal, although I am sure she must have been mortified. It was a freeing feeling knowing that despite all of this she still wanted to get to know me better. She had many chances to make her escape while we were still dating, but she has always stuck with me. We just celebrated 7 years of marriage in August. I am very fortunate to have met someone who still loves me despite the difficulties that spina bifida can present.
These challenges often make me feel less than manly. It is frustrating to know that I always have to be on guard, as my body works differently in so many ways. Fortunately, Amanda and I can both see the humor in events such as the one described above. If you can’t laugh in these times, life would be very bleak. There are always ups and downs. I am just glad to have someone with whom to ride the roller coaster.