Last week was one of those times I felt like I'd lived every day twice. Over Christmas break Charlie started potty-training. We did a bit of starting and stopping because I wanted it to be more of his idea, and the first part of January proved to be just that. He ended up with a week of potty perfection and I considered him trained. But then he started having bladder issues. He would hold it all day long and then have panic attacks at 9 pm because he was about to explode. I chalked it up to some sort of potty-training induced urine retention, went over it with the doctor at his 3-year check-up, and moved on. Things got a little better and then he went for almost 10 days without urinating during the day. I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Last Tuesday he began to seem more off throughout the day, but I thought maybe he was coming down with the strep throat that Addie and Sam had both had the week before. Around dinner time he was writhing in pain, screaming, and looking at me with panicked eyes as he cried for help and told me we needed to go to the doctor. I knew he was right, so we loaded up to head to the hospital. That was after the husband had gone to work at 1 am the night before and returned home around 4 pm. He ended up coming with me and I worried about my semi-sick, sleep-deprived husband and my really sick son. An x-ray confirmed that his rectum and large intestine were completely full of stool, and you could have knocked me over with a feather. He'd still been having bowel movements everyday, even in the middle of all of this urine retention, so I had no expectations of stool retention.
Since then things have been fun, and when I say fun, I really mean not fun. How does one go about cleaning out a 3 year old? Is it an immediate process or should we use a gradual approach? I got various answers from the ER doctor and nurses, the nurses on call at my doctor's office, and even my pediatrician's nurse. We spent two days in panic mode with suppositories and magnesium citrate and talk of enemas until a visit with the pediatrician calmed everything down and we started treating from the top down instead of the bottom up. Slowly things have started happening and the pressure on his bladder has lessened so he can urinate during the day without as much pain. And last night from 1-2 am I spent the hour changing a string of diapers finally ending in a grand finale of a code brown. The husband changed the sheets, I bathed Charlie, and we finally all plopped our exhausted selves back in bed.
He still complains of his stomach hurting. He's still not totally back to normal. But we're working on it. I would say this is definitely in the top 3 most difficult parenting challenges I've come across so far. I know one day I will want to trade teenage problems for pooping problems any day, but right now, these pooping problems really stink. Literally. Luckily we're starting to get to the bottom of things. Literally. I'm sorry, I can't help myself. And there you have it, way more than you asked for and an explanation for why I've fallen off the earth. I'm working on coming back.