Becoming a Toilet Southpaw

In just a few short weeks, I will be undergoing shoulder surgery for a busted rotator cuff.  Because nothing says “Happy 40th Birthday” better than surgery.

Back in December, I tweaked my shoulder trying to act younger and stronger than I really was.  The lesson I learned?  I’m old.

Toilet Southpaw

While I iced my shoulder religiously after the injury occurred, I never fully got rid of the pain.  After a round of physical therapy and months of rest, my right arm still doesn’t have full range of motion.  While I’m no longer in Yelping Out In Agony pain, this injury has certainly puts some limits on my lifestyle.

Taking off a bra results in wincing and muttered cursing.  Upper-body weight-bearing yoga postures feel unstable and shaky, like I’m trying to twerk but doing it wrong.  If I thought my throwing was pretty pathetic before my injury, it’s downright embarrassing now because my arm resists the follow-through.  I aim for my son, but the ball ends up in the bushes.

I’m over it.

An MRI revealed that I have a high-degree partial tear in one of my rotator cuff tendons.  And there’s probably a bone spur swimming around the pool party.   The options I were given were:

1. Just learn to deal with it

B) Get injections for years, or

III) Opt for surgery to repair the tendon and clean the shoulder out.

While this surgery isn’t required, I’m at a point now where I’m tired of feeling gimpy.  I want to be able to do fun activities with my kids like rock-climbing and not stress out that I’ll one day tear the whole tendon apart.

I worry that if I don’t take care of this now, it will only get worse as I get older.

So, August 16th I’ll be getting arthroscopic surgery to repair my tendon.  Afterwards, my shoulder will be immobilized from anywhere between one to four weeks.


I’m hoping that with my incredible strength and youthfulness (note sarcasm here), recovery will fall in the short end of things.  But I won’t know how bad things are until they go in and take a lookie-look around.

Basically, I might just be useless for a while.  I won’t be able to drive, and luckily my husband won’t be traveling and will be available to help out with the kids.   The bonus?  I get a free pass on cleaning the house and will take a hiatus from my current title of Sherpa.  And I might be able to skip out on wiping my daughter’s butt for a while.


But then, I realized, how will I wipe my OWN BUTT?

I’m right-handed, and that delicate matter is handled by my dominant hand.  I have never, ever even attempted to wipe with my left hand.  Is it awkward and unsuccessful?  Will I need to resort to screaming on the toilet like a potty-training toddler?

“I’m DONE!!!!”

I’m close to my husband, but that is territory I’m not willing to embark upon together for at least another 30-40 years.

So, for the next couple of weeks, I’m going to have to start practicing performing that job with my left hand.  Because I like to be prepared.  And because I don’t like to ask for help.  Especially with my underwear around my ankles.

I will become the switch hitter of bathroom breaks.  The Ambidextrous Ass Wiper.  The Toilet Southpaw.

Ditto goes for brushing my teeth, eating, getting dressed, and generally feeling like a functioning human being.

I’m dreading giving up control over the cleanliness of my home.  I’m afraid my kids will get tired of me not being able to play with them.  I’m not looking forward to asking for help with simple tasks that I’ve been used to doing on my own for over three decades.

And having someone wipe my ass for me?

I’d like to feel youthful again, but not that youthful.


Tinkle, tinkle, little star…

When I last posted about potty training, I thought we were in for a long journey towards underpants.   What I hadn’t expected was that the whole thing happened quickly and suddenly.  Miss P has been wearing underpants solidly now for a week, and even at nap and night time without pull ups for about 3 days.  She’s only had one accident in the past week, and that was at daycare on Tuesday.  Thursday?  She rocked it.  Even inspired other kids to start going on the potty for the first time.  And she’s taking the initiative to go to the bathroom on her own, unprompted from us.  So, I’m calling it.  We are Officially Potty Trained.  Whohoo! 

As a bribe To celebrate this momentous occasion (and the fact that it happened without too much stress) the Diaper Fairy is coming tonight.  We will be leaving our leftover diapers, wipes and the changing pad by the front door, and the fairy will be bestowing a lavish present in return.  I cannot begin to tell you how exciting this is!  After FIVE diaper-filled years, I will be able to travel without them.  Sure, I’ll have to have some extra underpants and bottoms on hand, it beats the bulky stuff.  And I am so very, very proud of my little girl.  And can that little body hold some urine!  She can go for HOURS without needing to go.  Amazing. 


A week ago, we were at a standstill with my daughter’s trials at potty training.  I mean, DEAD standstill.  The kind where she would pitch a royal fit and cry hysterically when placed on the toilet.  I don’t know what’s happened, but all of a sudden, she’s been going on the potty a ton!  The last few nights, she’s gone from nap time to bedtime wearing just fancy underpants and very minimal accidents.  And today?  Today she hit the jackpot, going #2 not only once, but TWICE.  I hesitate to make any lasting assumptions about her progress, but I’m feeling hopefully optimistic. 

So, what’s my gripe about?  Is there really anything to complain about?  Goodness, no.  However, I have to admit something here.  We tried the sticker incentive program for months with no avail.  What HAS worked, however, was the specially purchased pink and purple M&M’s.  She’s been getting one for peeing and two for pooping.  Add that up, and that’s a ton of chocolate during the day.  Not to mention how squeamish I feel giving her chocolate at 7:30 in the morning.  I’ve made the switch to gummy bears for peeing, but I still feeling like I’m some kind of horrible drug pusher, handing over sugar every time my toddler makes a deposit.  I’m hoping that one day she’ll just forget to ask for her “reward” and that stickers will continue to be enough.  But what if she never lets it drop?  I have no idea how long of a process we’ve got ahead of us, and c’mon, this could go on for months! 

Have you gone through something similar?  And what did you end up doing?