When you live with someone with Crohn’s, there are things far and few between that are more important than having a routine. I’m not talking about a full daily routine for when you wake up, go to the bathroom, etc. but instead a routine schedule of when you eat.
I personally don’t need to eat at a specific time or specific number of times a day (yes I do know that isn’t the healthiest if I am not eating three times a day but I’m not the one with a stomach disease :-)). However, Dan needs to stay with a strict routine, especially during the school year. When he is working, he can’t eat after 6:30 p.m. because it might make him have to leave his class unattended the next morning to use the bathroom. He also can’t eat in the morning for fear of having the same thing happen.
We try our hardest to stick to a routine and when we are home, it works perfectly. Dan eats throughout the day, typically a regular meal for lunch and then some snacks throughout. When I get home from work, we have dinner by 5:30 or 6:00 at the latest. This allows his stomach to stick to a routine and doesn’t cause him to have many problems.
The trouble with keeping a routine like this is when you are away. When we visit our parents or go away with family, it’s hard to stick to a routine like this because people don’t understand the extent to which disruption will impact his (and my) life. If he eats later than 6:30, not only does it upset his routine, but he also ends up extremely cranky due to low blood sugar. And the last thing that I want is a cranky Dan (believe me, it is unpleasant).
If I could give one piece of advice to my fellow caretakers, try your hardest to set a routine for your Crohnie. Set daily times for meals and to be done eating for the day- you will notice that, once in place, it will make their bathroom schedule more routine and cause less disruptions (although some are still expected with IBD).