Potty Training at 22
One of the most horrid experiences of my life was when I had to reteach myself how to use the bathroom. I was twenty-two years old and I was being sent home from the hospital after a year and change of torture. I had numerous surgeries to repair what was left of my intestines. My colorectal surgeon had performed a procedure that reversed my ostomy bag. It was the first time I would eliminate waste the natural way.
My doctors warned me that my muscles that controlled this bodily function were not strong. I remember that I left Temple Hospital wearing an adult diaper. How embarrassing it was. Think about it. I was 22 years old, and wearing diapers. I couldn’t control my bowel! How terrible. I was told that I had to perform kegel exercises. I am not going to get into detail about what they are, but it is not comfortable.
For the first couple of weeks at home, I was miserable. It seemed that I would never be able to make it to the bathroom in time. I was really down on my luck, and felt my life falling apart. I had a lot of things going through my mind. First and foremost, would I ever be able to maintain a job? Secondly, how could I possibly hold a relationship? “Wait a second, let me remove my diaper first.” I have to admit, I was not dealing with this very well.
When I arrived home from the hospital, I was using the restroom about twenty times a day. I would have an accident about half of the time. All my doctors kept saying was, “It’s going to get better.” I had to believe! I had to keep doing the exercising that the doctors recommended.
After about a month, I started to see a decline in my accidents. There was hope. I started to remove the adult diaper, just to see how I did. At times, I was ok, but other times I didn’t make it to the bathroom in time. I taught myself not to get down on myself. I kept to the saying, “two steps forward, one step backwards.”
After about two months, and over a million or so kegels, I had developed enough muscles in my rectum that I had no accidents! It was very hard to come to terms with, but I had worked very hard to develop a skill that seems so easy to master.
I realized that the problem was that I understood everything that was going on. I understood what it meant to not be toilet trained. When you are a baby, you don’t have the cognitive ability to understand that.
As I look back at this horrific time of my life, it was a quite the adventure. The process made me really dig deep in terms of what I wanted. I could have sat there and not worked hard to strengthen my muscles. That would have not ended well for numerous reasons. Through constant practice, perseverance and dedication, I was able to beat the odds. I am now able to live a normal life.
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