DISCLAIMER: I don't casually write this blog. I have to push myself to share very personal experiences because ALS forces a person to share intimate parts of their lives with those who take care of them. My goal is to shed light on what I have to go through no matter how embarrassing, these are my experiences. Read at your own risk.
After the "snickers" episode I was dreading the day when I would need assistance with my monthly gift. Everybody poops, but not everyone has a period. I was quickly approaching the point of no return, the point when my dear caregiver Jason would have to go where no man had gone before. To my suprise he was pretty okay about it, although I was mortified while he assisted me in cleaning and padding my bit-bits. He became quite proud of his first hand knowledge of various feminine hygiene products and how they operated all the way from wings to types of applicators. After about six weeks, of really only needing minor assistance with feminine endeavours,the ALS fully conquered the function of my arms and hands. When an area of my body is no longer receiving nerve signals from my brain, the paralysis is easy to deal with. The difficulty of the disease is the weakening of my muscles. Simple tasks like brushing my teeth takes longer and becomes exhausting while my once one ounce oral-b toothbrush begins to weigh five pounds.
With paralysis set in my upper limbs, my mother was giving me one of her infamous scrub downs in the shower and there it was in all her glory, my monthly gift. At that moment I knew what necessary task was about to commence... operation cork the cooter. I soon found myself tilted back in my wheelchair with my legs propped up in the gyn position and Jason with a tampon trying to achieve success in a task no man should undertake. Failure was not an option. I know what you're thinking, why not bypass the tampon and just use a pad. Truth be told Jason is the one who opposes pads because it was just that much more he had to clean up. Whatever. To make an already uncomfortable situation worse, my mother was waiting two feet away for the execution of operation cork the cooter. Jason had three failed attempts when my mother decided now would be a great time to teach him female anatomy and the workings of a tampon applicator. How mortifying to have my mom and boyfriend discussing my va-jay-jay with me in the room, nakie. I was flushed red in the face with embarrassment when my mom demonstrated the process with her hand and vagina plug. She then said something no one ever wants to hear their mother say, never never ever. "Now Jason, the tampon goes in the same hole that the penis goes into. Then you push on the applicator and ta-da!" I lowered my head in shame. Thanks mom for turning my Queen Victoria into a magic show. Jason proudly completed the operation with honors and I could get dressed. With als there are so many things we have to give up and let others do. We feel vulnerable, shy, and embarrassed as we have to expose our bodies, learning humility with every task. I was so relieved when that moment of humility was learned and over with.