image courtesy of

Craptastrophes and Holiday Travel

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

And so it begins. The holiday season is landing in our laps, but that’s not always exciting when it comes to family members on the spectrum. Ever since an unnamed airline asked us NEVER to return when my son was three (NINE years ago, and pre-diagnosis) we haven’t done much holiday traveling. A small, manageable road trip here and there, but nothing to write to Reader’s Digest about.

Guess what! This year I’m taking my kiddos to New York/New Jersey for the holidays! Crazy, yes? I haven’t been home since right after 9/11 and boy have I been craving good pizza and bagels. Also, my kids’ two internet besties live in the area and they want to meet them in person. Yes, I’ve seen them on Skype video chats, they’re actually real :)

What’s this have to do with poop? Ha, you may regret you asked. OR, you may be in a similar situation and now you will know that you’re not alone. We’ll see…

If you’ve been following the Blog for a while you may recall that my son suffered four months of diarrhea with “unknown” cause. After some extensive (out-of-pocket expenses!) testing, some genius finally figured out that he had a bowel obstruction. That poor child went through so much when it came to all the tests he was subjected to as well as the final cleaning of the pipes. I, too, became a changed woman in regard to the things I’ve seen and handled.

Since that experience, he’s been TERRIFIED to go. He exhibits avoidance behavior to the max when it comes to this topic. His muscles hold it in by default until the body takes over and results in light “elimination notification” that he’s holding a lot more. He holds it because he knows it will be a difficult and painful experience, which is self-perpetuating, of course – it’s a difficult and painful experience because he holds it. That coupled with the fact that if I’m not home to handle the “paperwork” he feels he has no option but to keep it in.

You can imagine the devastating implications this problem has on any kind of social life (thank goodness Skype doesn’t have smellevision capacity). We have tried every supplement and over the counter medication known to mankind. We have practiced sitting and pushing and routine and ritual and social stories and tricks and negotiations and rewards and punishments. We’ve tried “we can’t go to New York unless you learn how to poop.” But that’s not really fair.

As hard as this is for me, I can only imagine it’s tenfold for him. He knows it’s not the most desirable behavior, because he avoids coming out of his room every time he first has an issue. Or he walks backward (like I don’t know!) away from me to hide his bottom.

Overall, I’m not giving up! I will do what I do – research, experiment, keep soldiering on to make this a much better experience for him. BUT we are traveling for the holidays… so what do I need to consider as far as tools and resources for this situation?

You see, when he does finally go (which takes an Act of Congress and a lot of bribing), it involves a lot of bleach, a lot of wipes, medical gloves, several pair of boxer briefs, a shower, and a lot of, um… compacted product that isn’t willing to go where it belongs when the toilet is flushed. Yeah, it ain’t pretty. Between my poop scavenger hunts from the huskies in the back yard and my poor child’s digestive issues, I sometimes feel like Pyle in Full Metal Jacket (I AM in a world of S**T!). 

What do we need to pack for out of town potential craptastrophes? Do they make travel-sized plungers? Should we re-invest in Men’s Depends just in case? There are no “how to potty train your teenager” resources available, unfortunately. I’m not sure what lies ahead (and you probably don’t care to be updated, ha ha) but I want very badly for this to be a fun and successful trip for my son, not to be remembered with any kind of embarrassment or troubles. I imagine I will focus on getting the desired result for him while we’re at base camp each night (the hotel).

Have any of you had craptastrophes after an appropriate age? What helped? How did it affect travel plans? I love hearing from you, so share the poop… I mean SCOOP by commenting below!