Stupid embarrassment

Over the last few weeks I have been having more and more problems with my bladder again. It is something that I have the solution here in the house but I avoid using simply because it is a fiddle and strangely one thing that I have never been able to get my mind to accept as a solution, rather than a problem in it self. I suppose we all have the one thing, that monster that hangs around and we do everything we can to avoid, mine is catheters. Bladder problems are actually one of the most common problems that MS causes and for some it is actually one of the first symptoms. For some reason you are both incontinent and unable to empty you bladder. I know that is a combination that doesn’t instantly go together, as if you are incontinent you would think it would empty with ease but what happens is you will leak, often just a few drops sometimes a slow stream, then when you get to the loo, it keeps stopping and starting, often just slowing right down and you can sit there for 10 minutes with that process repeating itself until you are sure it has to be empty, until you stand up of course. The bad news is that even then there is probably a lot still there hiding. For a long time I just got on with it and did my best but then I started to get frequent infections, that was the point the NHS took over.

I actually had to spend a week in hospital learning how to insert a catheter, one week, it was nuts. After my third attempt I was ready to go home but no, I had to stay a week. My input of fluid had to measured against the output or urine and they wanted to watch me for several days using the catheter so they were happy. Now I doubt you have ever had to have a nurse with you when you want to go to the loo, their faces within a meter of an area that not many have ever seen, coaching you. I can tell you now I would still have a full bladder if it hadn’t been for the catheter, as it was simply embracing. To this day it is still embarrassing although I don’t have the nurse with me the whole process causes embarrassment even when there is no one here.

If you haven’t see a self catheter kit you probably won’t understand how they could possibly be but it is. The new packs aren’t as bad but at firs they were a horror, I had to take with me not just the catheter but wipes as well, there was a constant worry that someone would see them. To use them you had to open the seal, add sterile water from a bottle you also had to take with you, then wait for 5 mins for it to activate the gel, which lubricated them. Then wash you hands before inserting the catheter, empty your bladder, then try to dispose of all of it so no one saw all the pieces. This all meant that from start to finish I was in the loo for nearly 15 minutes, that is a long time, that alone to me was embarrassing especially at work. The new packs are smaller and contain the water already so the prep is cut in time and there are less things to juggle and hide, but even at home I feel this need to ensure that they are always hidden.

I know I have to get over this as some point as well the future will means I will have no option not to use them, but even Adam collecting two months worth from the chemist is, you got it embarrassing. Although he knows all about them I still want to hide the whole process and find myself, lifting rubbish in the bin so I can hide the used packs and the huge boxes under it, as I don’t want him to see them even in there. I don’t understand how I can sit here and write all this but the thought of going right now and using one fills me with dread, because I then have all that palaver to go through. Stupid, stupid, stupid I know but I can’t get past it. It’s 8 or 9 years since I first started using them and stopped just as quickly. There use is now when I have no other option, stupid because it puts me at risk of infection. Infections that put me in real risk of illnesses sever enough to put me in hospital, as my body wouldn’t cope with it. I should use them 3 times a day, but knowing what could happen and the risk I take by ignoring it, just isn’t enough to make me grow up and admit to myself, properly, inside where it matters, that no body cares other than me just how embracing it is. So what if another part of me needs intervention, I guess just me.

4 thoughts on “Stupid embarrassment

  1. My heart goes out to you Pamela! For several years my father in law coped with all those sort of problems after Prostate Cancer. It used to take him hours in the loo and I look back and wonder, a little in awe as to how he coped. In the last few days I’ve had a terrible cough with this cold flu bug with the odd embarrassing lack of bladder control, so I can empathize, albeit on such a lesser scale. I’m sure your blog is reaching out to many who are suffering alongside you and those who are carers too, to have more patience.


  2. What a palaver for you to go through. I must say that I would be reticent about using something that could cause an infection, not to mention the embarrassment factor. I am sure there will be many out there reading your blog who are probably going through the same emotions and will feel they are not alone. Thanks for having the courage to share xxx


  3. it is a really embarrassing part of the illness isnt it I know that recently I went to an MS group meeting where they had a continence specialist there but of course I was the only guy there but even though I was the only guy I had to talk about my toilet habits and how long it takes me etc she gave me some good advice which works really well for me so I am thankful for that but we never seem to stop being embarrassed about things like that even though it is probably only us that is really shocked by it.


  4. My father-in-law (before he passed away) wore a urine collection bag on his waist, w/catheter. The nearly constant 24-hour-a-day attendance must’ve at times been a real nuisance for both him and my mother-in-law. I can only empathize with you. Thank you for sharing this.


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