Getting it right for all

As a woman, it should be easy you would think, when it comes to getting used to using incontinence pads, after all, they are exactly like the pads we use when menstruating. For me, there is one huge problem with that, the last time I did that, was 31 years ago. I know that my memory is better when it comes to the past than the present, but even that is pushing it for me. I had a hysterectomy when I was just 24. I know that that is something most women find really hard to handle even when it happens to them later in life, for me, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I had my first period when I was just 8 and they had been nothing but a nuisance from that day on. In fact, it was one of the reasons that I loved being pregnant, so when I woke from an anesthetic to be told they had had no other option, I wasn’t sorry to hear it in any way. I felt as though I had been given my life back and that I, at last, had the freedom to live. Finding myself faced once again with no other option than to wear pads, really hit me hard. These last few days, haven’t just been about getting used to the fact that my bladder is now failing me big style, it has been about learning how to wear pads and getting used to not just trusting them, but just the feel of them.

For those of you female readers old enough to remember what sanitary products were like back in the early 1980’s, you will remember that they were nothing like today’s. Back then, if you didn’t use tampons, which frequently leaked, or if you needed the extra protection of a towel, well that’s what they were like, a rolled up piece of kitchen towel , backed with plastic and wrapped in net. Thick, uncomfortable and frequently leaked. Being faced by the modern ultra-thin pads of today, well trust is hard to find. Even finding it in the more familiar looking maxi pads, is tough as you still expect them to leak as they did in the past. My experiment of a couple of days ago when I poured a full mug of water into the night-time pad, helped me a lot, but it didn’t help with the comfort issues. It has taken me a full week to work out just where to position them and how best to make them stay there.

The first time I opened the pack, I did what I thought was the logical thing, to attach the centre of the pad, to the centre of the crotch in my knickers, then pull them up. For people who lead a normal life that might be fine, but I rarely stand and do nothing but sit or lie down. They rucked and twisted, the edges kept unsticking and them sticking to my skin. I just couldn’t get it right. I know that some of you by now are thinking didn’t she read the pack, it’s covered in information. Well, I can’t. My eyesight is atrocious and although Adam bought them for me, I was too embarrassed to ask him to sit there and read all the information on them. I did try to read them myself, but my glasses aren’t strong enough and even using a magnifying glass failed me totally. I headed to the website and was astounded that they told you loads about skin care, types of towels and pants but still not the help I needed. I have at last found a way that is difficult but works. It entails placing them correctly between my legs while standing and hoping it will stay there, while I pull my knickers up, then pressing the adhesive strip to the material. Trust me, it is difficult, but it works. As standing is getting more and more difficult, I quite honestly don’t see how I will manage it in the future. Comfort is important, there is nothing worse than sitting all day with something sticking into you. As bad as the old pads were, you could at least adjust them when needed, you can’t with the modern ones, as they slowly stop sticking and then we’re back to them twisting and rucking. Do I really have to face a lifetime of sitting on my blow up cushion?

It’s one of a million little things that in time will become big things. It appears that as far as pads go, whether I like it or not, I am going to be forced eventually to wear those all in one products. No matter how many different brands I look at, they all scream one thing N-A-P-P-Y! Do we really face a future of being treated and dressed like babies, simply because it’s easier that way? I know it’s such a small thing, and yes, no one sees them, apart from us and eventually our carers, but we’re still adults who want to be treated and dressed as one. Just simply doing something like offering a range of colours rather than nothing but white, would be a start. It’s not that hard to find out the most popular colours of knickers that are sold, then offer their nappies in those colours. I for one without a doubt would feel that bit better about wearing the black version, rather than the white ones, I know it’s just colour, but they just wouldn’t feel like nappies.

When our lives are being stripped away from us in huge ways, if we can at least hold on to our dignity and feeling like adults, rather than as though we are digressing to childhood. It really is those small things that make the difference. I have fought to keep my home as my home, I’ve refused to let it look like a hospital, by taking time and thought and finding products that fit, not stand out, but here I am caught with one I can’t escape. Yes, there are now pants that have an inbuilt pad and are pretty and washable, but they only deal with leakage and are too expensive for most. Once more we are forgotten, we are expected just to accept and put up with it, but I don’t want to and I bet, most of those millions don’t want to either, whether they are male or female. No, I haven’t forgotten about you guys, I know, it’s just as bad for you too.

 

Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 04/17/2014 – One last chance

Yesterday afternoon went almost as I expected and I was almost right as to what the role of an MS Support Worker is. They are the halfway house between me, doctors, social work and volunteer agencies, so not qualified as any but with an idea of all, sounds like a lot of jobs these days, a bit of this and a bit of that but none totally. We sat and talked for about half an hour and went over the things that I……

16 thoughts on “Getting it right for all

  1. I am feeling sorry for you and I never have felt that before I always see you as strong independent courageous Dont give up or give in. AND Here in The states I’ve worn tampons from the beginning started menstruating at 12 Still do at age 50 They’ve never leaked & Ive never had problems Was extremely active cheerleading & other activities. Only time I havent worn them is after I gave birth. My 31 yr old daughter has only used tampons as well bcuz We like you dont like the feeling of a diaper/nappy between our legs. I use “chucks” like hospitals use on bed where my dog sleeps & matress pad. Prevents damage to matress & stops me from changing entire bed just top sheet .I’ll keep reading Keep the faith Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please don’t feel sorry for me, this is just the way things are. I like you have a pad on the bed so if my towel leaks, the whole bed doesn’t need changing, but I’ve been told I still need my other pad as well. To be honest, it is the day time one that I am finding most difficult and uncomfortable. There is unfortunately no alternative to that, if urine leaks during the day, well what else can I use to catch it. Becoming incontinent is difficult to handle for all of us. What they provide for us to deal with it doesn’t help. We’re adults, not babies but still I get the feeling they have taken the baby solution and scaled it up, with no more thought than that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you considered the next step – the adult ‘diaper’? If the pad isn’t working, the panty might just be ticket. I began using them in the hospital after my recent surgery and I’ll never go back to the pad. My bladder, like yours, appears to be failing, and for me to the pad would saturate too quickly, causing problems with potential leaks. The panty seems to have a greater capacity. It’s no more difficult to wear them than your average knicker. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have, but they look horrendous to wear. There is also the other issue, what the NHS will supply for you. I am hopeful that when they arrive, their daytime solution will be better for me, as they come with a pair of mesh pants to hold them in place.

      I have thought of the diaper, my issues towards them is in the final paragraphs. Yes, I know that is psychological, but it’s a tough one to get past. I’m still at the start of this whole thing, which is of course the hardest part of anything. We will see how thing go and maybe when I’m more settled to it, I will make that step. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ok, a couple of suggestions here.

    After you get the pad comfortably placed where you prefer it in your panties, take a sharpie marker (it will last through laundering) and draw a line at the top of the pad edge in your knickers to help you visualize where the top and bottom should be while sitting down. If you do with with a pair of knickers a day, eventually, all your panties will all have that mark and that will help you to feel more comfortable with positioning the pads while sitting without having to worry that you must do it standing up, or repositioning them until you find the magic location.

    Second, set the alarm to remind yourself to use the bathroom every 2 hours – this may help to keep you dry (my friend does that with her Mom who has mild dementia) and it’s worked wonders to eliminate accidents or surprises, so that she tolerates wearing adult disposable knickers better.

    Finally, when you are getting the knickers down to use the toilet, take a moment to stretch the pad to both sides of your knickers (left and right vs. top and bottom), as it’s normal for movements to scrunch them up between your thighs during the day, and I find doing this helps a lot for coverage and general comfort levels.

    There are options for pads with “wings”, and you may find you like them better than I do. You can always try that design, too, if you can’t keep the middle / center of the pad smooth and spread out properly.

    I had surgery as a child to tighten up my nether regions to give me continence control. As I’m failing in health with COPD, one thing I’m noticing is that I am losing bladder control, too, and must hit the bathroom every hour to 2, maximum, or I run the risk of not being able to make it to the loo in time. Frustrating, as I practice my kegels regularly, but it is what it is.

    Hope these suggestions help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the idea about the marker pen, that makes a lot of sense, although, I don’t know what will work on black. I’ll have to look for a yellow or white. I’m still waiting to see what the NHS is going to supply, they should be here in a couple of days so I’m hopeful that they will be more comfortable as they are all different from the ones you can buy in the shops. Apparently, they are specially designed for incontinence were the ones in the shops are designed to sell. I’ve seen the ones for mild incontinence and I bet no one would buy them, they are huge! It really is a frustrating process, but I am sure that I will get there. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Check your arts and craft supplies stores. There should be markers that you can use on Tee shirts (colors which show up on black and are washable) if you don’t like what your NHS gives you as your next batch of options.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Pam,I’ve been reading today’s blog.I had the trying to stand and get the pad some where approx right.Eventually I found it easier to fix the pad to the pants before putting them on.On reflection if they still do it now,what about an in dwelling catherter and release it every 3/4hours to maintain bladder tone ? .I also find using pants made from bamboo cloth kinder to my very sensitive skin..I sense that you are feeling a bit brighter today and really hope you are.Sending love and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad the bamboo pants work well for you. I haven’t heard of the dwelling catherter, it may be something they offer for those in later stages, or as you say, no longer in fashion. Yes, in an odd way, I am brighter although I’m not totally sure why. Just one of those days maybe. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. THANKS FOUR MAKING ME LAUGH. SERIOUSLY, THERE IS A GOOD SIDE TO WEARING “:NAPPIES”.IT’S PRIVATE, SO I CAN’T TYPE IT HERE. AFTER 1 YEAR; I FOUND A PLEASANT “SIDE EFFECT” FROM WEARING THEM.

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