MS Shenanigans at Work: Missing My Commode
Last updated: October 2023
When my MS flares, fatigue is amongst the first of the symptoms that presents. And amongst what it affects for me personally, are my legs. I no longer walk, but I am at least able to stand and then sit on my wheelchair commode, which doubles as my shower chair.
Forced to give up my bathroom solution
Being too weak to use this lifesaver, bed baths and bedpans are my options. I love my shower time, but I can sacrifice it for a thorough alternative - especially if it's only temporary. However, bedpans? Not the same. They just don't measure up and I find myself missing my commode. A lot.
The challenges with bedpans
I am not new to them. Having to use it while hospitalized was enough to let me know that using a bedpan was not my cup of tea. I just could not 'go'. At any rate, it did seem a logical solution to my current plight at the time. And at least it didn't have to be awkwardly slid under me - I could stand and sit on it. I found that it was the same deal - having a bowel movement or urinating easily was still as difficult, the positioning seemed 'off', and it was just all around uncomfortable. I find it so frustrating when there is something that is designed to help me - an assistive device, if you will - but it does not. I thought, am I the only one experiencing this?
A continence advisor article that I happened upon answered my question. A disadvantage of bedpan usage, I read, is that it makes urinating and defecating difficult because of positioning. The user finds it difficult to naturally eliminate lying down or sitting up in bed with the device under them. Also, placement of the bedpan can be difficult. Another disadvantage. (Maybe not applicable to every user, but not just me).1
I also discovered that there are, however, several types of bedpans in addition to the standard. For example, there is a fracture bedpan. It is flatter than a regular bedpan, and is intended for patients who have less mobility and have trouble lifting their hips. There are also bariatric bedpans, which are larger than a standard sized bedpan and may help prevent splashing and are more suitable for patients who are heavier in weight.1
Ultimately, I think a bedside commode is more advantageous, when possible, of course, because it allows the patient the opportunity to be able to get up and out of bed, which helps to avoid bed sores. I also think the sitting position is easier to urinate and the downward pressure on the rectum makes it easier to pass.
At any rate, with all that said, I reiterate...For me, bedpans don't measure up. I miss my commode. A lot.
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