Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Elimination Communication at the Y

This evening I headed out to the gym with the plan that afterwards I would come home and do a blog post about the Elimination Communication aka Diaper Free Movement. After warming up, I headed over to the free weight area and began my routine. Let me state for the record that the free weight area tends to smell completely disgusting in the evening (as opposed to the rest of the day when it smells like a bouquet of roses). However, when I walked by a trainer and a young teenager (maybe 12 or 13) to grab a free weight, I got a distinct whiff of diarheaa. I tried not to gag. I instinctively looked around. No one seemed to be writhing with cramps. I chucked it up to either a toxic gas leak or a...personal gas leak.

A minute or two later the boy began to do some leg squats right by me. I was hunched over doing rows. As I looked up I saw that there was definitely some Elimination Communication going on in or perhaps coming from his pants. I immediately had a flashback to a conversation with Suzanne while we were at the Jersey Shore about Alli, the weight loss pill and anal leakage. (To the best of my knowledge, no one at the Jersey Shore with us suffered from anal leakage.) A second squat from this boy confirmed it. He then proceeded to sit on a bench that I had been planning on using.

Honestly, I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. This boy looked like he was struggling with his weight. He was meeting with a personal trainer and really focusing on what he was saying. If I went over there and said something to him or to his trainer in his presence there is no way he would ever come back again. I would probably send him into therapy for the next 30 years. On the other hand, I couldn't let him just walk around like that. First of all, some of the guys in the weight area were already noticing the smell and murmuring about it. As a mom, my heart would break if my sons were in that situation. I just felt so bad for him. Second, it's just not sanitary.

I looked around and saw a woman who I thought might be his mom working out on a treadmill. I thought I had seen him talking to her when I first came into the fitness area, but I wasn't sure. Then I remembered that had been a staff member sitting behind the desk when I came in. I went over there to tell her about the situation so she could discretely deal with it. Unfortunately, she was completely gone (just like my workout). I saw the boy dart off (I was hoping to change his clothes) so I went over to the personal trainer and told him what I had seen. He seemed completely surprised. He told me that he would take care of it.

The boy came back, and I saw the trainer talk with him. Then his mom came over (or at least the lady who I thought was him mom.) The trainer walked away. I made a note just to skip the questionable bench for the day. I finally finished my workout and headed out towards the locker room. As I passed the stretching area though, I saw the kid in the same clothes on a mat.

I really don't know what to make of it. I guess it's possible that the clothes had an old stain, but seriously if you had a stain like that why would you wear the shorts again? Plus it doesn't explain the smell. I initially wondered if he really was taking something like Alli. Then I thought there was no way a child of his age could be on such a drug. But kids inhale fumes and computer air sprays, so if one was struggling with his weight, I don't think use of an over-the-counter medicine to help with weight loss would be too surprising. He could have also had a medical condition. I'm guessing the kid was just really embarrassed and denied it; it's not like the trainer was going to check. Now I'm not sure I did the right thing. Maybe I should have just gone straight to the mom. I know one thing for sure: if anyone ever sees me like that, please tell me!


Ev said...

Okay, blech. Maybe blech squared. If the mother knew about that and didn't whisk Son away under some guise, like maybe father had a fatal heart attack or something, mother ought to lose her custodial rights and spend the rest of her days doing community service in the colostomy ward.

kathrynoh said...

What an awkward situation. I think you did the right thing, I mean what can you say? There is no way to bring up an issue like that without it being uncomfortable.

Polly Peirce said...

I am inclined to agree with ev; what a desperate situation for anyone to find themselves in. For that boys Mom to completely ignore the issue; well, words fail me...

I have a boy of the same age, who occasionally has night time continence issues. Thankfully, in his case it is urine, rather than faeces. Nevertheless, I continually monitor the situation; as he cannot be relied upon to own up when it does happen. Imagine how embarrassed he would be if his nine year old brother found out, or worse still, his school mates noticed the tell-tale odour?

That mother should be shot! Dignity is a basic human right and a careless parent should not have the right to ignore the needs of her child. Life is hard enough at the best of times.