On a bus from Be'ersheva
The Bladder and the Bowel
Reading that back, it has a certain lyrical quality. Sort of like, The Owl and the Pussycat.
Or what about a pub name? Meet you at the Bladder and Bowel for a quick pint.
Constipation that is.
You must get your stomach to work three times a week, my neurologist told me. He
Itís easy, said my urologist.
But it is uncomfortable. And dangerous if your stomach doesn't work for days and days. And days.
So how do I get my tummy to work? I once had a surgeon phone me to ask my advice before operating on a patient who had multiple sclerosis. So, come on already. How do I get my tummy to work?
There is a formula which does work for me. This formula works for me but I cannot guarantee it will work for everyone.1. Routine. Come what may Monday, Wednesday and Friday are the days my stomach has to work. I have to give myself about two hours for it to work and for me to wash afterwards. It might take you less time or more time. 2. Take something that will move "the rubbish" through your system, the night before. I use lactulose in the evening. I have also taken two tablets of Dulcolax in the evening. Timing is important. I try to take my tablets about 12 hours before my tummy needs to work. I find that I must use one of the two for a few weeks and then switch to the other. 3. Use a suppository in the morning. That will really get the system working. I use a Dulcolax suppository which usually works about half an hour after it has been inserted. 4. Don't sit on the toilet immediately. Sit on a chair, or your scooter or wheelchair until you know that your tummy will work. I think that the added pressure when you sit on a chair somehow helps to get the tummy moving. Some people, unfortunately, become incontinent and have little can't control over the movement of their bowels. I remain continent so my advice is for those who have some control.
So now my tummy does work. It is exhausting work, but nevertheless of vital importance.
There is something that I hurriedly skipped over. Use of a commode.
It is very exhausting having to go to the toilet. Part of the difficulty with my bladder and bowel, was that it was exhausting having to go to the toilet. Raising the height of the toilet by fitting a commode over it, made a tremendous difference. I chose a commode that was light, could fit over the toilet, if necessary could fit a bucket instead fitting over the toilet, and was portable. Why did I choose that sort?
In another section I discuss going to hospital for a cortisone treatment. I got the marvellous idea of bringing my own commode after reading an Oprah magazine. The magazine focused on comfort and lying in bed in hospital the magazine itself was of great comfort. Moreover, I wondered what would give me comfort in hospital. A light bulb moment. My comfy commode from home. Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could get my tummy to work while sitting on a comfortable seat? So my mother brought me my commode and it made a tremendous difference. I wrote to tell Oprah magazine and my letter was chosen as the letter of the month. I won the prize. A Mont Blanc pen. I use that pen to sign my books and even though my writing is terribly un-even I sign my name with aplomb.
With my Mont. [By the way, that is said with a nonchalant tilt of my head and a self-deprecating smile].
On a bus from Be'ersheva
I remember sitting next to an elderly woman on a bus in Israel. She and the bus driver were having a heated argument.
No, I can't stop the bus - he was insistent.
Bladder control is fundamental. It's one of the first controls a child has. It's normal and natural. What a feeling of power. Independence. Fundamentally critical for exploration and interaction in the wondrous world unfolding for the child. And to have that taken away is denigrating and frustrating. To wear a diaper that doesn't quite absorb a full bladder is humiliating. To wake up in the morning with a wet diaper sets the tone for the day. There must be something better than this.
I spoke to my urologist. There must be a tablet that will keep me dry. Surely.
It took my urologist two hours to convince me that there was another way.
No. It is not so bad. Granted, I am finding it increasingly exhausting to get on to the toilet and off. But I bought a special commode that raised the level of the toilet so it is not so terrible. And my mother doesn't mind coming to help me out of bed and onto the toilet. Three or so times every night. And I can use the commode in my bedroom which will make life so much easier. And there always is a diaper.
Eventually he convinced me. A catheter. But that is for someone, more down the line, I reasoned. No he assured me. Grande.
Well, if I'm going to use a catheter I am going to make a fashion statement out of it.
And so I have. The bag I put my catheter bag into is lovely.I now have a suprapubic catheter. More permanent. But so much more comfortable. I am more prone to bladder infections, but they are manageable. It's goodbye to diapers. And good riddance. I can drink much more water which gives me energy. And I can drink tea, caffeinated. And coffee. Cafť latte.