She has a G tube and goes quite often. She is 100-years-old and has lived with me and my husband for the past 15 years.

Find Care & Housing
It's a partnership.
You can't handle something and he can.
I myself have no problem with feces, but the pain of one of my patients made me dizzy.
My friend Robin couldn't stand sputum and she would often suction a patient in need standing there gagging herself.

Our bodily reactions to the bodily fluids of others are normal human vaso-vagal reactions that are a part of our genetic makeup for centuries of adaptation. You aren't alone and every nurse out there has SOMEthing that will send her heaving. Trust me. When I first witnessed circumcisions (don't believe them when they say they are painless) was when I first knew I couldn't "take" pain.

We do the best we can. That's all. Tell your hubby how much you appreciate him. That's all you can do.
Helpful Answer (23)
Reply to AlvaDeer
BurntCaregiver Mar 31, 2024
Amen to that, Alva. I've gone running for a bathroom, sink, garbage can, and even the bushes more than a few times in my years of caregiving. Anything associated to hands-on human care is the most disgusting job on earth.

When I lived out west, part of one of the jobs I had was cleaning out horse stalls. All the stalls combined together were not as gross as cleaning up after one incontinent adult. Fact.
Your mother is living with you and your husband for FIFTEEN YEARS and on a G tube to extend her life even further than 100! Yet you're using the word "guilt" here because you cannot bring yourself to clean up feces???? And you have people here telling you to just suck it up, basically. Unreal.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to lealonnie1
ElizabethAR37 Mar 28, 2024
Agree. At 87 I have zero desire to reach 100. No one should have to deal with this situation, although I know that heroic caregivers (pros and non-pros) do it every day. I STRONGLY hope that I never live to experience poo incontinence. I have already specified in writing that I do NOT want feeding tubes, ventilators, dialysis, super-antibiotics, CPR or any other "heroic measures" at EOL. Still, if I should somehow manage to arrive at such a hapless point, I also strongly hope that my Final Exit can occur quickly and quietly via VSED or MAiD.
See 1 more reply
Why not place her in a facility so that you and your husband can get your life back?

You have done more than enough, no reason for the guilt, I wouldn't change her diaper either.

Guilt is a sell-imposed emotion that serves no purpose except to keep one stuck, you have done nothing wrong.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to MeDolly

Some of y’all are not understanding that this isn’t a matter of getting used to it. The body reacts out of reflex.

It would be like getting used to the doctor tapping your knee with that little mallet, to the point where your knee doesn’t do the automatic small kick anymore. You can think distracting or happy thoughts all you want, but you cannot control what happens.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to LoopyLoo

Well hiring help 24/7 may be too expensive .
If that is the case , and you don’t want to do it , and you don’t want your husband to do it , then the option left is to place Mom in a facility.

Do you think your mother would want her son in law taking care of it ?
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to waytomisery

You know we all have things we can and cannot do - thats why we have people in our lives to help us. Husband is a God send and praise God he is able to do this. Instead of feeling guilt - give your husband a massage or an extra slice of pie for the great job he does. Give mom a hug and do what YOU can for her. Wash her hair, paint her nails, something that makes her feel good. Then after all that - hug yourself - give yourself permission to have a treat, a nap, get someone to sit with mom and you and husband have a dinner / movie night. Life is hard period! Know that as I am writing this I prayed for you, your family and situation! Cyber hugs!
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Ohwow323
BurntCaregiver Mar 30, 2024
A husband who doesn't mind changing his MIL's crapped in diapers. Now that is a man worth keeping and God bless him.

I had two husbands and it was their relationships with my mother were extremely strained on the best of days. I can't imagine either one of them wiping her a$$ or changing her dirty diapers.

I'll tell you one thing the OP's husband deserves a lot more than an extra slice of pie or a massage. Wiping MIL's backside and changing her diapers could be hall-pass worthy.
See 4 more replies
One way I shift is being GRATEFUL.
Start creating a GRATEFUL list daily - aim for 10. That is easy if you make the list 'easy' - "I'm glad the sun is out today." . . . "I'm grateful my husband is so caring for my mom."

This will help your brain start shifting to thoughts 'all the time' when situations come up ... as thousands do every day. You can shift your thoughts (reframe thoughts) to "what am I grateful for in this situation).

INDEED . . . you are very fortunate to have a husband so caring and especially in this area of personal need. How many of US out here have a husband / partner like that ? Count your blessings.

Guilt is a waste of time. That doesn't mean it goes away just because we know that. It is a nasty one. Still . . . we can reframe / have an intention to change how we feel in the moment. Know that you are not STUCK with your feelings. That is a first step (awareness). Once you know that, give yourself options: "Well, I ALSO feel gratitude for my loving husband. " The key here is ALSO. You don't push a feeling away, you move it to the side to allow (an/) other (s) to come in.

In general, ask yourself how you can reframe guilt into another feeling.
Once you do this, you will open the door to many other (positive) feelings.
Belief you DESERVE to feel FREE of guilt. That is the first step. Then miracles will happen.

Gena / Touch (ps - I'm grateful for your husband. What a gem)
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to TouchMatters
BurntCaregiver Mar 28, 2024

With all due respect to the gratitude plan you recommend for the OP, it literally be no help whatsoever in dealing with the sh*t.

What will help in dealing with the poop is trying masks and different odor-eliminating products.

Seriously, if the OP invests in a bottle of Pooph! spray, she will be very grateful indeed.
There are people who can not stand to deal with poop, without gagging. They are fine with anything else, just not poop. We all have our own threshold when it comes to certain things. I don't think you need to feel guilty about it.

However, the care your mother requires seems to be placing quite a burden on you and your husband. I'd like to remind you that there is also no shame and no guilt in finding a suitable care facility for your mother.
Perhaps you've just become used to doing this, since she has lived with you for 15 years. And she has become comfortably dependent on you.
You may have some cultural beliefs or emotional strings which make you feel obligated to provide her care. You and your husband are likely not that young yourselves and this was probably not the way you wanted to spend your retirement years. It's time for you to take an assessment. Are you really able and willing to provide all the care your mother needs at this point? If not, that is what nursing homes are designed for. Do a tour though, before you go that route. All nursing homes are not the same. Find one that you can feel good about.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to CaringWifeAZ

15 years is a long time. You stated in a reply below that your mother doesn’t want to go to a facility that it would break her heart . Well for 15 years your life has been significantly impacted by her wish to stay out of a facility . Does she care about the impact this has on you , and your husband ?

Your Mom should have been offering to accept and pay for some hired caregivers to come into the home at least part time 2-3 days a week so you and your husband can get a break and have some time to yourselves free of listening for when she calls you for something.

You also said you feel like you have to do this because Mom took care of you . Your Mom had breaks from caring for you because you went to school . Mom should be offering you a break . If not, IMO she’s selfish and has groomed you to be a caregiver from an early age .

If there is no part time help coming so you and your husband can go out as a couple , then you should tell her she has to allow and pay for the help. Your awesome husband deserves this for putting up with her demand of not wanting to go to a facility and having her son in law clean her up ,

You say your mother has all her faculties . That’s strange that she would allow her son in law to clean her.
No way would I ask nor want my son in law to clean my butt. IMO at this point your mother should be offering to go to a facility .

I know I will be unpopular about this but , you do have choices. Either you clean Mom’s butt or ….. You can tell Mom that you can no longer provide the care she needs in your home and place her in a facility , rather than feeling guilty that your husband is cleaning her butt.

I don’t blame you for feeling guilty about it, I would too . Even if my husband was willing to clean my mother’s butt ( which I know he would never do ) I would feel bad about it. He should not have to do that . And if I couldn’t do it, then my Mom would go to a facility .

Your inability to clean up feces is not the problem . The problem is your mother’s selfishness and the fact that she has guilt tripped you into feeling you owe her and have to care of her at home.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to waytomisery
ElizabethAR37 Mar 29, 2024
It might well "break my heart" to be compelled to enter a care facility, but the OP's situation is far worse, IMO. Perish forbid that my son-(or daughter)-in-law would be expected to clean me! Although I've never gotten to the point of considering a Final Exit "High Noon", the butt cleaning thing might just tip me over the edge. That's a TOTALLY untenable situation as I see it.
See 2 more replies
Thank you everyone for your wonderful replies and suggestions. If a time comes that I need to do this myself, I think I will try a Covid mask with Vics vapor rub first. I would only put her in a nursing home if she did not know us. She still has a glimmer of life and I don't want to break her heart.💚
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Christines555
AlvaDeer Mar 29, 2024
You're so welcome. So glad you came here, hope you will stick around and help us answer others; your experience is what makes this Forum work.
See 2 more replies
See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter