‘Are you awake?’. Sniff. Sniff. Sob. “Wake up, I peed the bed.”
It’s 3am and after a certain age nothing good happens after 2am (or before 10am for that matter). When someone is gently waking you because they’ve peed the bed, you expect to see the tear-streaked face of a child hovering over you. But, we have no children and the dog can’t talk, so by process of elimination The Banker knew it had to be me. Plus, as I have mentioned, my dog is perfect. That bitch would never pee in the house, let alone in her own damn bed.
‘You disgust me’
The Banker rolled over and was immediately sympathetic. He enthusiastically offered to pee the bed too, if that would make me feel better. I thought about it, politely declined, and we set to stripping the bed, doing the laundry, and after showering I finally tumbled back into clean sheets just before the sun came up.
The scene, though dreadful, was not unfamiliar. And the bed was not the only place I had been experiencing this awful problem to various degrees of humiliation (the mall, the car, the street, your house). After suffering through periods of self-inflicted dehydration, permanent abdominal bruising from pushing on my bladder and a host of side effects from useless meds, I decided it was time to try something else. Enter Cathy.
My doctor and I agreed I was running out of options and so she arranged for a nurse to come to my home and teach me how to self-catheterize. Self WHAT? I know. It sounds horrifying. But hear me out because self-cathing means you get to put the pee where you want it. I can’t emphasize the goodness of this enough.
Like the mysterious tampons of my adolescence it actually didn’t take too much time before I got the hang of it. After a few days with a mirror and some patience I could self-catheterize blindfolded and drunk if I’d needed to.
But like adolescence the psychological impact messed with me more than the actual mechanics. In puberty the introduction of these tools signals a transition into adulthood. Terrifying times but exciting times. The introduction of continence care feels like the welcome mat is being rolled out to Disease Town which is a suburb of Oldladyton. And learning to cath (when I could have kept on peeing the bed like an actual child) felt like I was signing up for my seniors’ discount. Worse still, it meant I had to acknowledge and accept a more permanent state of disability.
I don’t know how I came to terms with it but I did. It doesn’t hurt. That helped. I don’t pee the bed anymore or my pants for that matter. Ever. That definitely helped. My hair didn’t turn grey and I have yet to be mistaken for a granny. My friends know and they don’t care. The Banker is totally unfazed and still thinks I’m hot. So, here is a secret: It’s not that scary.
I didn’t get there overnight. In the beginning I couldn’t bring myself to even say the word ‘catheter’ and so I personified the shit out of it turning the whole thing into my new frenemy Cathy. Before long that skinny bitch was coming everywhere with me and soon I realized, making my life easier. She liberated me. I had the security to leave the house, go to bed, stay in a hotel or at a friends’ place. And as an unexpected bonus, gave me the excuse to buy pretty things. Because if I need accessories to pee, I am going to find the perfect Kate Spade wristlet to carry them in.
There is a fine line between TMI and NEI (not enough information). It’s hard to talk about this stuff and so we don’t and then it’s lonelier and scarier than it needs to be. I’m not suggesting we all post our continence status on fb. Ew. But whatever. It’s just pee. It’s mostly wine water. Get on with it.
31 thoughts on “Honey, I peed the bed: Solving My Worst Nightmare With MS”
Alice, thank you, this is genius! I love it
I found this post on Webmd and just thank you. I haven’t completed testing for MS, but my bladder is totally gone. I’m 33. I needed this today. Thank you.
Hang in there. This is manageable.
I had so many words I wanted to say, but I’ll just say, “thank you”.
Thank you so much Heidi!
Great post. I've book marked it for future reference. And the future's not too far away.
Thank you for reading. I'm glad you liked it.
My wife knows that Cath goes with us everywhere, and shes not a bit jealous. This post adds the humor element. to the various MS problems. It's much needed… Thanks.
I am so happy to hear that Cathy has more friends than just me. Thanks for sharing.
Wonderful post! You are the first person I 'know' who is or was doing the pressing to pee thing! I have been doing it for years but now there seems to be some damage to my poor bladder and a trip to a urologist is coming up. I am dreading it! But hearing about how easy it is to make friends with Cathy is taking a little of my fear away! Bless you!
Thanks for writing Beverly. Apparently the whole pressing on your bladder thing is not really a healthy thing to do. Good luck at your appointment. I promise you it's not scary and can be a really practical solution. Let me know how you make out!
Blindfolded? HOw many times have I put Cathy in the incorrect orifice? That's with the lights and glasses on.
Oh dear. I'm sorry to hear this. I honestly never use a mirror, it's just second nature. I hope you get the hang of it.
Thank you for sharing your perspective. You present honesty and humor in the face of the daily challenge of MS.
Well after numerous trips to a urologist and several bladder tests…my urologist has decided that as long as I can continue to empty my bladder so well by using the hand press method (Crede maneuver) �� he does not think it is necessary to self cath at the moment! Once I lost all feeling in my hands however this might change!�� The worst problem is this little maneuver is damaging my nails! Time for fakes maybe!
I missed this post when it was originally shared. Thank you for the humour and candor with which you write. It makes the awkwardness of all this MS stuff much more manageable. I have been self-catheterizing for 2 years now. As long as my hands can cooperate, it is no longer the big deal I made it at the start. I hope you are keeping well. Kind regards, Kathy
Thanks for reading Deb!
Thanks for reading Kathy. I'm so glad to hear it's not a big deal for you.
I am very well and I hope you are too.
Great post, I'm bookmarking it right away. Thank you very much for removing the idea of "horrific" from my mind.
All the best, Bee
Thanks for reading Bee. Good luck!
Omg thank you so much for sharing this!
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Great post! I’m so happy I was able to help you in some way; just as I’m sure your own post will help someone else. It’s so important for us to share this kind of intel. Thanks for following and thanks for sharing!
So very much needed to read this. I too have had to wake lawn guy and he is very sweet as well. When things like this happen it is nice to have a village who gets it. I go for a few tests on my bladder in April and now I think I can face them with a new courage!! Thank you
I’m so glad this resonated. Good luck with your tests, and if one of those tests is a cystoscope, buy yourself a present. ?
My urgency issues are currently under control with oral Trospium, but it does cause a bit of dry mouth. Which is… annoying but better than accidents. I suspect that Cathy will also be in my future.
Do you have to Botox the bladder?
I don’t need Botox. If you do get Botox in the bladder you will have to self-catheterize. I self-cath but I’ve seen a couple of specialists that don’t think Botox is necessary. Things are under control.
Hi there. I´m reading this article and find it very helpful. I was diagnosed with MS two years ago and today my doctor said I might need to catheterize every night. That scares me. What is this Cathy you use? Where do you get it?
Kind regards from Argentina!
The kind I use is called Speedi-cath Eve and it’s from coloplast. I’ll put the link here, but I’m not sure if it’s available in Argentina.
I, too, blog about the MonSter and am currently considering/researching self-cath. Thank you for talking freely about this sensitive subject.