January 28, 2021 – Bladder Control

It’s no coincidence that there are so many advertisements for adult pads and diapers on TV and in magazines and pop-up ads on the computer. It seems to be one of the ‘joys’ of being female. We start out life ‘wetting ourselves’ and the closer we get to the end, we do more of the same. Not a very comforting thought. I do understand that men suffer from this problem, too, but we ladies are definitely in the majority. A lot of it has to do with the ‘miracle of life’. Each time we decide to have another child and go through the process of carrying around a little human being for 9 months and then push it out into the world with every last bit of strength we have, we impact our bladders and the part of our body that supports our bladders. But some of us don’t even need to have children to ‘suffer’ from loss of bladder control. Some of us seem to be predisposed to this condition. If I got paid a dollar for every time I’ve ‘peed my pants’ over my lifetime, I’d be a very wealthy woman today. I kid you not, I’d be up to my neck in dollar bills.

You want to know a great way to spoil a good laugh? How about the most unexpected way to ‘cut a meal short’? Or what about the best way to ruin a perfectly beautiful day at the beach? All it takes is a little bit (or a lot) of urine. Urine is actually a good thing, it is what the body produces when it’s operating as it should. If you’re alive and you can no longer urinate, there is something seriously wrong (usually kidney failure). Urine serves as an indicator for disease or infection. If you’re producing too much or too little or it’s starting to look ‘funny’, that’s our body telling us that we probably should schedule an appointment with our doctor. Why am I so fixated on ‘urine’ and ‘bladder control’ today, of all days? Well, as I mentioned in the first paragraph, we women tend to be in the majority of ‘wetters’ due to the impact having children has on our bodies. But that’s not the only reason. There’s also the one, the only, urinary tract infection (UTI). And I just have to say, she’s a ‘beauty’! And when I say ‘beauty’, I hope you recognize the sarcasm.

You’d think something with such a short acronym wouldn’t be so insidious but, holy smokes, this baby burns! Not only does it burn like a hot poker, but it likes to constantly make you think that you have to ‘pee’. You need a good night’s rest because you’ve had insomnia for the last few nights AND you have a UTI? You can just forget about it! You’re going to be waking up about every 10-15 minutes with an ‘urgency’ that you cannot ignore, and once you race to the bathroom and plant your ‘tookus’ on the toilet, you can be sure to experience two things, pain and disappointment. Why disappointment? Because after sprinting to the bathroom for the umpteenth time, you’re only going to actually ‘pee’ about 2-3 tablespoons of urine. It’s going to be about the same amount that you ‘peed’ the previous ten times you went rushing to the bathroom earlier that evening/morning and it will likely be no different than the next 20 times you have to race to the bathroom before the sun even rises.

Yes, my friends, I’ve been ‘blessed’ with a UTI yet again. And I cannot begin to tell you how ‘special’ I feel. I’m being sarcastic again by the way. I had a suspicion that something was amiss last night before I went to bed, but there’s no doubt in my mind any longer. The last time it happened was the first time it had ever happened in my entire life. I’d had other infections before but never a UTI. And I just kept waiting and hoping it’d get better on its own but it didn’t. When I finally decided to contact my doctor, the office had already closed. I got through the evening as best I could and then when it came time for bed, I hoped I could rest and that maybe my bladder would ease up and allow me some much needed sleep. Apparently, that wasn’t a realistic expectation because each time I’d get ‘this close’ to reading the back of my eyelids, my bladder would start to ‘knock’. “Hello, hello!” it would call out, “Is anyone home?” I tried to ignore it to no avail. It wasn’t willing to give me a moment’s peace.

After about five hours of waking up every 10-15 minutes, only to experience pain and disappointment, I finally decided to try something a bit unconventional. I was so exhausted from lack of sleep that I could hardly see straight and I knew if I kept getting up over and over, I would never get adequate rest and wouldn’t be worth a wooden nickel the next day. And sometimes a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. The first thing I did was go to the kitchen and grab an extra large garbage can liner/trash bag. The second thing I did was go to the bathroom and grab two extra large, robust towels along with a hand towel from the cabinet. The third thing? With zero pride left in my body, I walked over to my bed, and started ‘the process’. ‘The process’ involved pulling back the bedspread and flat sheet very carefully (so as not to wake my hubby), spreading out the garbage bag, unfolding the two towels and placing them directly on top of the garbage bag, jamming the hand towel into my underwear, and climbing into bed.

Intentionally ‘wetting’ myself was a very strange sensation, indeed! It goes against everything I was taught when I grew up. But I was so damn tired that I no longer cared. And once I fell asleep, I slept (literally) like a baby! When I did wake up a few hours later, I felt like a million bucks. I was soaked, of course, along with the towels, but I felt great. And later that morning, once I was able to contact the doctor and get confirmation (through a urine sample) that I did have a UTI, he called in a prescription and got me headed back in the ‘right’ direction. The whole process was anything but ‘fun’, so going through it yet again is a major bummer. I honestly would prefer a root canal over a UTI. Fortunately, I’m learning, so I was able to reach out to the doctor and get started on meds before it got too far out of hand. Despite my efforts to ward it off quicker, I have been ‘lucky’ enough to experience some of the humiliating side effects (aka loss of bladder control).

There’s nothing quite like taking a ‘stroll’ through the neighborhood and experiencing that ‘sense of urgency’ multiple times. That’s what happened when I tried to take my dog for her much anticipated, every-other-day walk. I usually walk between 3-5 miles (give or take) and it’s very therapeutic for both of us. Like a responsible adult, I used the restroom before I left, and off we went. We had a snowstorm last night so it was rather precarious but we managed ok. However, not 10 minutes into the walk, I heard the ‘knock’. “Really?? So soon??” I thought to myself. “Oh, yes!” my bladder replied, “It’s time. Either you do something about it or I will.” Crap!!! I tried to ‘will it away’ to no avail. I was out on a stretch of road with no public restroom in sight. Can you guess what I did? Yep. I swallowed every ounce of pride and ‘let ‘er rip’. And it didn’t happen just once, it happened at least 5-6 times before I could complete my ‘walk of shame’ and return home. I couldn’t even manage 3 miles. I barely even got in a mile and a half.

Once we got home, I told my dog, “I hope you’re happy.” She didn’t seem too bothered by my predicament. From the look on her face, I am pretty sure she was thinking to herself, “What gives? I do it all the time!” Yes, that’s true. She does. But that doesn’t mean I want to necessarily join her. I think it would appear a bit odd if I started hiking up my leg or squatting each time I passed a bush. Anyway, all of this talk of ‘urine’ has got me thinking. My mom came up with her own tombstone ‘engraving’ or epitaph so that we kids won’t have to. It seemed a bit odd when she shared that information with me because isn’t it usually the ‘loved ones of the decedent’ that determine what goes on the tombstone? Who knows? Maybe she’s onto something. After careful consideration, I have decided that this is what my tombstone should read. Hang on a minute! I should have said ‘my tombstone would have read’ because I’m not getting ‘planted’ anywhere. I’m just going to get incinerated and put into a box and end up in the back of someone’s closet.

Anyway, if I did have a tombstone, this is what I would like it to say, “Here lies so-n-so. She suffered many losses throughout her life, but the one that gave her the most grief was her loss of bladder control.” I know. It seems a bit long for an engraving but it’s theoretical anyway so it won’t cost anything. And it would definitely be unique. All of the other tombstones that you see in the cemetery are pretty run-of-the-mill and usually say something to the effect of, “Jane Doe. Born such-n-such date. Died such-n-such date. Beloved daughter, mother, sister, wife, friend. RIP.” I guess if I’m to be ‘known’ for anything, I might as well say it loud and say it proud. Thank you so much for stopping by. For the folks that are ‘following’ me, I am grateful for you and the continued interest you have in reading about the variety of things I talk about each day. I love to write and I try to infuse humor into everything I do, especially when I write. And I hope I was able to make you smile, especially if you had a really crappy day. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.

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