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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adventures in Pee Pee Land

First, let me say, if you are a nurse reading this, please take heed. There are more than a few nurses I'd like to strangle about now and for this reason:  Please, nurses, do not baby-talk to 52 year old stroke patients, especially aphasia patients as aphasics are great mimickers and now I have a 52 year old husband who doesn't have to "go to the bathroom" but instead has to "go pee pee" or "poopie in the pants" which are phrases that I heard the nurses use over and over at the hospital.  This is quite embarrassing, especially when he announces it out loud for everyone around to hear. Yikes.
Toilet Trees

Well, I got that off my chest. Thought this cartoon of Bob's would be a fitting illustration to this post!

Lately, it seems we spend all of our time in the toilet. I'm becoming quite the connoisseur of the public restroom. "Handicap accessible", my foot. Ever try to get a wheelchair with a 6'3" immobile guy and yourself into one of these stalls??? It ain't easy. And doors. What were they thinking? Seems all restroom doors are off to one side, so that when you pull the wheelchair in, with your butt against the door to hold it open, you always end up at angle ramming the wheelchair or yourself into the wall... And once you get in, just try getting back out. I must be quite a sight---the door swings open and out comes my butt holding the door open, me, bent over pulling his wheelchair out of the restroom by the footrests! And don't even mention those motion-detector paper towel holders which I keep backing into---whirr! 

Problem is that Bob always has "the urge" lately. And I mean, always. About every half an hour, he has an urge to go. I don't know if it's because he still has that bladder infection, two weeks of antibiotics should have cleared it up--right? Or does he have a "neurogenic" bladder as the urologist suspects and lord, if so, what can be done about it? Or is he perhaps just fixated on his nether regions at the moment? Because about 80% of the time, it's just an urge, and once we get in the bathroom and everything ready to roll (no small feat): nothing happens. So, we wait. Clock ticking away. Still nothing happens. If I try to hurry him along, or try to convince him that he just went so shouldn't have to go again, he gets quite upset. It's been frustrating for the both of us, not to mention a waste of time, some of which is better spent at the parallel bars in the therapy room instead of in the bathroom. 

Then there was the trip to his pain doc last week. On the way up, he had the urge so we detoured to the men's room and I couldn't get him into the handicap stall because the corner was too sharp, so we did it in front of the sinks. Oh well. And it was successful, yippee! So I wheel him to the doctor's office, through another non-handicap accessible door and run into the coffee table full of two-year old magazines. And finally, we are there, and the nurse informs me that they need a urine sample. AAARGH! I try to explain that Bob does not have much control over that, he's in diapers, etc., but they insist because it's federal law and they need to periodically drug screen the patients. So, I have to wheel him down this narrow corridor through a maze of water coolers and boxes and assorted computer stands and other junk and take a sharp corner into a crowded bathroom and stand there with a cup while the nurse watches (so that we don't cheat, I guess) but of course he can't do a thing.....  Twenty minutes later, they let us go. So we head to his therapy appointment (late) and he has the urge again, another detour and oh my, I am getting sick of restrooms.....

Even at home, he is constantly reaching for the urinal, then holding it there for what seems like hours. I tell him that it's a urinal, not a coat for his penis. Yes, I use that word. Better than "pee pee" which is what he insists it is---thanks again, nurses! 

He has another appointment with the urologist on Monday. I pray there is something that can be done to rectify this problem. Because I am at my wit's end and think I might explode if I spend one more hour crammed in a public toilet holding a plastic urinal between his legs and praying to the toilet gods for that golden stream.

Well, at least I can joke about it. Somedays, laughing is all you can do.

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