Poop Time Advice for Paraplegics

Reading time: 3 minutes



If you’re in a wheelchair and you have a “bowel program,” which means you go to the bathroom as we all do, then you may have had some sort of routine in or out of rehab.

While I was in rehab, I had to poop every morning, and if I wanted to switch to night I could, but it wasn’t easy. After reading my other article about routine, you may start thinking about when you should go to the bathroom.

If you’ve read all the words on this website, you may have read that I used to use a laxative when I was in rehab but then I realized I didn’t need it and I stopped. The unfortunate effect of that laxative was incontinence for the ensuing hours. Because of this, I wasn’t able to swim in rehab. A week after rehab, I fixed that problem and then swam the following summer. However, I still get rather gassy every now and then.

Personally, I always like to shower after I poop – clean up and do a bathroom routine type of thing.

For going to the bathroom, there are two main options. Going to the bathroom in the morning and going at night.

I’ll give you some pros and cons for each, since I’ve done them both.

For yourself, though, consider that your values will play a big role, meaning that what you care about more will determine what you do.

Morning

If you want to go in the morning:

  • You’ll need to wake up early if you go to work
  • You might be gassy or have incontinence during the day
  • If you didn’t finish all the way you may poop yourself mid-day
  • You’ll be getting dressed in new clothes for the day afterward that may get soiled
  • Eating food before will help get things moving, do you eat brekkie? And can you wake up to eat it before the bathroom?
  • Do you live alone? If not, you may have roommates that need to use the bathroom to brush and you can’t really take your sweet time because they have work or class
  • If you go to the gym or stand on leg braces, it might be helpful to do those before
  • Are you tired in the morning and just don’t feel up to it?
  • Do you like to shower in the morning (if you would shower after)

Arvo

It means afternoon.

(Some of these will apply only to college students).

  • Do you stay up late? Maybe you’ll be too tired
  • Do you party? This is effectively the same consequence as pooping before work
    • You may be gassy or have incontinence – not ideal for a party
  • If you do have incontinence, it’s good to go to bed afterward instead of going out during the day. Laying down on your stomach or side will help as well as being at home where you can take care of it
  • Is it better all around for your roommates to do this at night? (if everyone showers in the morning, it might be better to go at night)
  • After a day of eating and activity, it may be easier
  • Do you shower at night? (its easier to poop and shower in the same time slot, and showering after helps stay clean)

Case in point – you may end up trying both the morning and night bathroom routine, but now you have an idea of what to consider as the consequences of each, and there may be more, but this is a great start.


Immediate actionable items: Poop right now. In your pants. Do it, it’s liberating.

Summary: When getting out of rehab and considering your bathroom routine, you get to choose, for the most part, between morning and night. Here I simply give you a few things to consider for the morning and night. Do you party at night? Do you work in the morning?

Overdeliver: If you’re routine gets messed up, you may find yourself pooping at night if you missed it in the morning, if you have a good routine, your body will stick to it or at least be predictable enough so that you know you’ll need to be ready to rush to the bathroom in the arvo should you miss the morning poop. Or just wear a diaper, no shame in that.

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