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Monday, May 27, 2013

The Evolution of An Artist, Post-Stroke


In June, The Stroke Survivors Tattler will be featuring artists who are also stroke survivors. I was asked by the editor to contribute an article about Bob and his artwork. Here it is:

One of Bob's cartoons, pre-stroke
Since childhood, Bob wanted to be an artist. He used to tell the story about when he was 6-7 years old and saw the "Draw Winky" advertisement for an art school in the back of a magazine. He drew Winky (a deer) and showed his mother his handiwork. His mother thought he had traced it. She even held it up against the window to see if he did.

His dream was to go to art school. A dream that kept getting put off because of finances and responsibilities, including a diasterous early marriage that ended in divorce. Soon after the divorce, at the age of 32, he finally fulfilled his dream and, two years later, graduated with a degree in Commercial Art/Graphic Design.
Bob's Pen & Ink Pointillism
pre-stroke

He loved working with pointillism, a drawing technique using little dots. He loved cartooning.

Mona Lisa's Cat
pre-stroke
Bob and I met while he was going to college and we began dating shortly after his graduation. He told me he wanted to be a cartoonist. He loved "The Far Side" and had an idea for a single panel off-beat cartoon sort of like that. I encouraged him to give it a try and he did put together a portfolio of cartoons and sent them off to the syndicates. We also worked together on a children's book: me writing the text and him illustrating.

He made most of his money drawing company logos and t-shirt designs. He did a lot of freelance work including work for Florida Blood Services and Taco Bell.

Page from our children's book
In 2003, he suffered his first stroke, which was minor but did leave him with right hand coordination problems. He was right -handed. He did not draw again after that. He didn't think he would be good enough. He was always a perfectionist.

In 2010, he suffered a second, and much more severe, stroke which left his right hand/arm completely paralyzed, his right leg partially paralyzed and totally blind in the left eye and with vision problems in the right eye, severe aphasia and a feeding tube. He is now, for all intents and purposes, mostly bedbound though he can transfer into a wheelchair with the aid of a slideboard and walk with assistance at the parallel bars.  After four weeks in Acute Rehab, the hospital wanted him sent to a nursing home. I brought him home instead.

Early post-stroke drawing.
Untitled
While in Rehab, the occupational therapist tried to coax Bob into drawing again. But he refused. Once, the OT took a sheet of paper and proceeded to draw a picture of a flower. It was a terrible drawing, it looked like something a 5-year-old might draw. She showed it to Bob. She then asked Bob to draw her a flower and told him she knew he could draw a better flower than the one she had. He took the pencil in his left hand and, with a sly smirk on his face, drew an exact replica of the flower the OT had drawn.
Attempt to draw a bat.
post-stroke

It was then I knew there was hope.

Though when I coaxed him to draw, he still refused.

The next Christmas, when my parents asked what they could buy for Bob, I told them to buy him a professional artist sketchbook and graphic pencils. I thought, perhaps, if he had some good quality professional supplies it might incite him to draw again.

First complete drawing post-stroke.
He called it Aphasia Mind.
At first, he only took the pencil in his left hand and wrote his name over and over in the sketchbook. I told him the sketchbook was for drawing, not practicing his signature. He told me, "I'm progressing."

Obstacles
And progress he did. His first drawings were very sketchy and simple and strange. His only attempt to draw something realistic was a bat which he gave up on before completion.

He turned then to drawing haunting and surrealistic landscapes which had an other-worldly quality, such as the one he called "Obstacles".

His artwork continued to evolve. Getting more and more detailed.
Portrait of Diane


Two things have just amazed me. The first is that being right-handed and now using his left hand, his handwriting is horribly shaky.  Yet, he can draw such fine lines, steady details, perfect shading.

VooDoo
The second thing that amazes me is how everyone sees something different in his drawings. And how people actually search the drawings for hidden symbols and messages and objects. Some of his drawings are strangely mesmerizing and I find people staring at them, transfixed, in a bit of a state of awe.



He is still a perfectionist when he draws, often working on a project for weeks and, then, simply tossing it out if he deems it "not good". When he is finished with a work, he indicates to me how he wants it cropped and/or centered when I scan his drawing into the computer. He also comes up with the titles for his drawings.

It can take him two to three months to complete a drawing. He works mostly in the mornings, while I do chores around the house or blog.

Brain Block
He draws in bed, with a sketchbook clipped to a clipboard and propped on his knee.  This is no small feat as the sketchbook will wobble under the weight of his pencil and he cannot move his other hand to steady it. He is always very relaxed and content when he draws. He starts drawing in the middle of the page, completely shades and finishes that little section and then works outward, one little bit at a time. He never uses an eraser. If he makes a mistake, he'll trash the whole thing, or he'll work around the "mistake" and incorporate it into the drawing.

This is very different from the way he used to work, which was a meticulously planning out a project before starting it: he used angled rulers, graph paper, a light table and he completely mapped out the proportions then sketched an outline before filling in the details.

Brain Rewired
As Bob cannot communicate well, I do wonder what his artwork means and if they are brief glimpses into the mind of an aphasic artist. I do think he's trying to communicate through his pictures, trying to tell me something. His latest works seem to be saying that "everything is connected", at least everything in the pictures, indeed, are connected...

Or maybe he's just trying to tell me that he is still in there. Even though his brain is damaged and his body crippled and he cannot speak very well. He's still in there. He's still the man, the artist, I met and married and deeply love.

For that, I am glad.






Friday, May 24, 2013

The Great Pill Chase & Other Frustrations

I swear, I am this close to a complete and total mental breakdown. I mean, my nerves are wire thin and I have snapped more times than I like to admit this past week. And poor Bob bears the brunt of it.

It's like one minute I am the perfect, patient, loving caregiver wife and the next SNAP! I am the Screaming Evil Bitch from Hell. Case in point, yesterday, when Bob kept pointing at the ceiling fan and saying "it's broke". And it was not broken. It was doing what ceiling fans do, you know, going round and round. So I figure he wants it turned up or down or off. So I'm standing there, hand on the pull chain asking him "turn it up?" and "turn it down?" and "off?" and he just keeps saying "it's broke!" and then after three or four rounds of this I just----SNAP!

And I scream at him, "IT'S NOT F---CKING BROKE!!!!" GA! And I probably screamed a lot more stuff at him which now I cannot even remember, because it was as if I was suddenly possessed by a demon.

Of course, I hated myself afterwards...

And don't even get me started on the "towels". Which he keeps demanding and I keep supplying and he will take a fresh stack of neatly folded towels and tell me they are "wrecked". I tell you, I am washing/drying 40-50 towels per day because of his new towel obsession and worried sick my washer and dryer are not going to survive this assault. Then the other day, Bob kept saying "towels" and I kept bringing towels and he kept wanting more "towels" and I SNAPPED again, and I screamed "YOU WANT TOWELS! HERE'S TOWELS! GAAAA!!!" and I dumped a whole armload of towels right on top of him. And there's poor Bob lying there, wide eyed and terrified, and covered with towels...

I do fear I am losing it. It doesn't help that lately Bob has been either horribly constipated or the exact opposite. The other day, I swear, he was pooping for two hours straight. I kid you not. Every time I got him cleaned up, oh shit! because there another one was coming at me. I tell you, somedays, our life is just really full of shit. And I mean that literally.

This week, too, I've had to chase around town to find Bob's pain medications. This because Walgreens is in some trouble with the DEA and they do not have enough pain medications in supply right now. And they cannot tell me when a new supply will arrive. And I cannot call and ask if the shipment has arrived, no, because they cannot give that information over the phone, so I am told I must come down in person, everyday, to see if the shipment has arrived and to get there early before everyone else snatches the stuff up---and like I have time for this crap. So on Wednesday, Chris came over to sit with Bob so that I could run all over town trying to fill three separate pain medication prescriptions. I was able to fill one at our Walgreens and another at a Walgreens across town and, finally, after several more fruitless stops, managed to get the last prescription filled at a non-Walgreens grocery store pharmacy. And all the time worrying that The Green Machine is going to take a dump and strand me some 30 miles from home. Because that car has developed some new quirks. Like not letting go of the key when I turn the ignition off. And leaking coolant. And starting hard. And worrying, too, that Bob is going to run out of pain medication because no one seems to have the stuff. But I got it all and made it home.

On a better note, I talked with our attorney yesterday and the defense has been strangely silent and missed the "20 day deadline" to respond to our complaint. He thinks they are waiting for us to make the first move, so he is sending a "demand letter" stating that we want X amount of dollars to settle plus interest for every 30 days they dawdle. He is very upbeat and positive about the whole thing. We'll see what happens.



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Aphasia vs. Dysarthria: Finding The Right Words, Then Saying Them Wrong...


I think the worst thing, at least for me, after the stroke was Bob's inability to speak. I always told myself that it would be easier deal with all of his physical limitations, if only he could speak to me. Tell me what was on his mind. Talk about what he was feeling.

Bob has struggled with speech now for over two years and continues to struggle. But he has come a long way, baby. From his initial grunts and gurgles, to calling everything "window" or "radio", to short phrases such as "I love you" and "Turn it up", to complete sentences that sometimes even make sense. And it seems to me that the aphasia is slowly "clearing" up or at least getting less severe. He does seem to be finally finding "the words"... This while physically he seems to be deteriorating.

Yesterday, he said a complete 11 word sentence, which went like this: "I want to thank you from the heart of my heart." This was after I just cleaned him up from a bowel movement. I swear, my heart soared! Even though I knew he meant "from the bottom of my heart". Still, it's good to hear his voice again.

Then dysarthria rears its ugly head....

"Dysarthria" is a fancy way of saying he has trouble articulating. This because his mouth and tongue are weak and partially paralyzed. This is nothing new. He's had it the whole time, although the first speech therapist misdiagnosed it as "apraxia" which is truly a different thing. But now the dysarthria seems more pronounced -- or should I say mispronounced? -- because more and more he is finding the right words but sadly, the words are coming out all wrong.

Case in point: About a week ago, we were watching a movie and an actor appeared on the screen and I thought, hey, that's what's-his-name!, because I couldn't remember the actor's name, even though he's quite famous. And I said to Bob, "That's what's-his-name! Oh, I can't remember his name. What is his name?" And I'm sort of beating my forehead thinking, darn, it's right on the tip of my tongue---what IS that guy's name???

Bob says, "immony omens"

To which I answer, "Huh?" And I finally pause the movie, because this is really bugging me, and get up to look at the DVD case.  And, of course, there's the name.

I say to Bob, "Anthony Hopkins. Duh."

Bob says, "See?"

I say, "See what?"

Bob says, "I knew it."

Me--I am surprised at this, because truthfully, this would be very hard for someone diagnosed with not only Broca's aphasia but also "anomic" aphasia. Anomic aphasia being the inability to remember names of persons and/or things. Then, I think, well, he did say something---what exactly did he say?

So I tell him, "Say 'Anthony Hopkins'."

He says, "immony omens"

All righty. I guess it sort of sounds like Anthony Hopkins.

Other recent Bob-isms include: "cocock" meaning "botox", and "dude-o-mer" meaning "pedometer" (which I wear when I walk the dog), and "furrer" meaning "furniture". And those are just the ones I figured out.

I tell you, I spend more and more of our "conversations" saying, "Huh?" And it has got to be so very frustrating for Bob, who---when he sometimes finally finds those words but cannot say them right, and, still, no one understands....

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Once again, I am The Bad Guy

Yesterday, we went to see the newest neurologist. I say "newest" because this is the third neurologist Bob has seen. The second neurologist, Dr. K., was absolutely wonderful. In fact, he was one of the best doctors I've ever met. Unfortunately, he is leaving to work for a children's hospital and so we have been referred on to Neuro Doc #3. This neurologist will be handling the Botox treatments for Bob's dystonia.

The appointment started with the nurse/assistant. She looked at Bob's neck and at his left leg (which he can no longer extend straight out) and the curled toes on his left foot. She told me these were all "muscle contractions" and the cause of it was from "being immobile". She said that "evidently" I was not getting Bob enough exercise. And that this type of symptom is often seen in nursing home patients.

Those of you who follow this blog know this is simply not true. I have done my darnest to keep Bob in physical therapy and when he doesn't have professional PT, have been exercising with him at home faithfully--until recently that is. Until this dystonia caused him to drop out of PT. I told that nurse all of this and she looked at me like she didn't believe a word I said...

Then the neurologist came in and looked at Bob and told us that Bob's toes were "too far gone" and that Bob's neck was also "probably too far gone", and that Botox would not help him. Then he said that I should have brought Bob in at the "onset" of these symptoms and I should not have waited an entire year before bringing him in. Because now, it was too late.

I told that neurologist that I did take Bob to see his "old neurologist" immediately after the onset of the symptoms and that neurologist told us the symptoms were due to "neuropathy" and that there "was nothing that could be done about it". And when I asked that neurologist about Botox, he told me that "Botox in the neck would be fatal" and that was the end of the subject.

This new neurologist tells me that the first neurologist was "100% WRONG".

This new neurologist tells me I should have told that first neurologist that he was wrong.

I should have told the neurologist he was wrong? Huh? What do I look like--a freaking doctor?

Though I didn't stop there because the neuropathy diagnosis didn't seem right to me. I asked every single other doctor/therapist that Bob has what they thought of his symptoms and was given diagnoses of everything from "brachial plexus injury" to "torticollis from a drug side effect" to an agreement of the neuropathy diagnosis, to "nerve impingement" to "scoliosis" to a posture complication from keeping Bob's head of the bed elevated to high, to a "possible side effect of his poor vision".... and I even took Bob to a podiatrist to look at his toes and was only given a bunion cushion--- and it wasn't until Bob was hospitalized in February that we met Dr. K. who came up with the "post-stroke dystonia" diagnoses and told us there were treatments out there including Botox--and that Botox would not be fatal if injected into the neck.

So, after much debate, the new neurologist has agreed to "try" the Botox in Bob's neck and also in his hamstring muscles, but will not do the toes--because they are "too far gone".

Botox is set for July 2nd. 

And Bob is being referred to a foot surgeon to be evaluated for surgery... 

We left that doctor's appointment and Bob was nearly in tears...

And once again, it's all my fault.

Jeepers.




Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I have, truthfully, the most wonderful parents in the world. And Bob would agree. Pre-stroke, he called my parents "mom and dad" and now he calls them, for some aphasic reason, "grandma and grandpa".

My parents have been pretty much our sole support since this awful stroke, even though they reside 1400 miles away. When Bob was hospitalized, they flew here and stayed an entire month until Bob was finally discharged from ICU. Since then, they've been back to visit twice and call us every single day to "check in" and make sure we are all right. They have helped us through all of this both financially and emotionally.  Honestly, I don't know how we would have survived without them.

My Mom and yes, that little munchkin is me.
1960
But right now, I feel like a total heel because here it is Mother's Day and I completely forgot to buy my mom a card! Of course, I realized this a couple of days ago and but then it was too late.

Chalk it up to my frazzled, overwhelmed, chaotic caregiving world. And my inability to even get to the store more than once or twice monthly (when, God love her, my friend Chris can sit with Bob) because I cannot afford to hire someone to sit with Bob. But those are just excuses. Albeit good ones.

So Mom, sorry about the card. But consider this post your Mother's Day gift. For you are truly the best and most beautiful mother in the world. And we both appreciate all you have done for us and continue to do. And I love you, very much!

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! 


With Lots of Love 

from 
Bob & Me 
& your four-legged grandkids!






Saturday, May 11, 2013

A New Tube For Bob


On Wednesday, we finally got Bob a new G tube. I truly wanted and asked for one of those "low profile" tubes which has detachable tubing and looks like this:
"Low profile" tube.
I thought Bob would be much more comfortable without that tube dangling from his belly. And a detachable tube would be easier to clean.... But we ended up with this "standard" one, instead:

Bob's new tube
Because the doctor told me they didn't have anything like that. So I asked if one could be ordered for the next peg tube replacement and he said, if I wanted anything fancy, I should go out buy it myself! Jeepers. Like you can pick these things up at Wal-Mart... 

I know the insurance will cover a low profile tube and other people on Medicare get them all the time, so why won't this doctor order one for Bob? grrrr....

Then I asked if I could be "trained" to do the next tube replacement at home, because I have read that a lot of people/caregivers do this with the balloon type of tubes. It really is just a matter of deflating the balloon, pulling it out, and sticking a new one in. But he said, no, it was not possible to "train" me.

I tell you, sometimes I think it's all just a crapshoot depending on what doctor you end up with.

The good news, however, is that this new GI doctor says that the tube should be changed out every three months to decrease risk of infection. He also said the balloon that keeps the thing in his belly does not last much more than three months and after that, there is a risk of it "deflating" and falling out. So he's ordering a home health care nurse to come and do the replacement at home every 3 months. Which will certainly be cheaper than paying a doctor to do it. Not to mention, if it's replaced every three months, the darn thing won't get so clogged.  Though, I'm sure I could do the replacement myself if someone would just give me instructions and supplies. And that would save everyone, including the insurance company, money....

But I'm happy it's going to be replaced every three months. And to think, the old GI doctor just told me the tube should last "until it needs replacing" so we always ended up replacing it in an emergency situation. 

This is Bob's 4th tube. The first tube was surgically implanted and after about nine months, it just exploded one day, split right down the side. Kaboom! Scared the crap out of me when that happened. And had to make an emergency run to the doctor's office. The 2nd tube was a balloon device and the darn thing deflated and just fell out after about 5 months. It fell out during the middle of the night and I found it in the morning, with a big mess on my hands, because the feeding pump was still going and the bed sheets were getting fed instead of Bob... when I called the GI doctor's office, I was told to bring him in at 1:00 p.m. but by that time, the hole in Bob's belly had closed and they had to take him to surgery to punch a new hole in....

The last tube, another surgically implanted one, was in there for nine months.... I wanted it replaced before KABOOM, or worse....

What a difference a doctor makes. Replacing it every 3 months makes some darn sense.
Lovenox

The last GI doctor also just yanked out Bob's first surgically implanted tube, without taking him off warfarin. He also did the second surgical procedure while Bob was on warfarin. This new doctor said that doing it that way was "too risky"and Bob could have hemorrhaged.

So, to prepare for this procedure, I had to take Bob off the warfarin starting on the Saturday before, then starting on Monday, I had to inject Bob each morning with Lovenox, a fast-acting heparin blood thinner. On the day of the procedure, I was not to inject the Lovenox until after the procedure was performed. This way, Bob was only off the blood thinner for a "small window" of time.

Now, I've never injected anybody with anything before--so this had me a bit freaked out. The doctor said he could send a home health nurse over to do the injections, but I declined that, because the injection only lasts 24 hours and has to be given at the same time daily and I did not want to sit around worrying if this nurse would show up on time every day or even show up at all. I'd rather have the whole thing under my control, so I know it's getting done right.

Anyway, the GI doctor's nurse told me she would send me directions, but unfortunately when they came it was only directions for when to start the warfarin etc. No directions on how to administer the injection. Then the pharmacy sent the lovenox and the only directions it had were "inject into the skin" and "see patient insert for further directions" however there was no patient insert... So I ended up downloading the patient insert from the internet.... and it didn't look too hard. I told myself, I could do it as long as I didn't freak out and remained calm.

The first morning of the injection, unfortunately, was total chaos. Starting with my morning bath, when I stepped into the tub only to find that I was--- GA! sharing a bath with a lizard! Whom I had to catch/rescue and release outside in the garden. Then, Bob was totally constipated and I had to ultimately get out the latex gloves and baby oil and go up there and "digitally stimulate/remove" a bowel movement, which is truly as gross as it sounds. Then the pharmacy arrived with a delivery which was all screwed up. Then one of the cats threw up all over my desk. And when I finally went to give that first injection, I was so frazzled I couldn't get the darn cap off the needle. It was like the darn thing was super glued on there.

And all this happened before we had to rush to catch the 10:15 a.m. transport for a doctor's appointment! So much for remaining calm...

But I managed. And I got through. And Bob's still alive, so I must've done it right.

This new tube is a love/hate relationship for me. I love it, because it's new and clean and boy, oh boy, does it flow. Not like the old one which ran like a clogged drain. But I hate it, because it's clunky and too short--I'm breaking my back leaning over Bob to do his feedings/medications.  I already called to ask for a tubing extension but they didn't have any for Bob's brand of tube and told me "to go out and buy it" myself.

Jeepers.

I tell you, the medical community just sometimes baffles me....

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Word Verification

I am sorry but I am putting the Word Verification thing up again to add comments. I tried it without for a few weeks and I had some complaints as it was hard to leave comments. I thought if I took if off, hey, I'd get more comments! Which would be great! Because comments make my day. Get me through. Keep me going.

But I didn't get anymore comments than usual.  At least not legit comments.

Today I deleted 36 comments most of which were from pornflix and anal/sex.com and screw/huge/babes and stuff about hotchicks and all sorts of awful things that even mentioned dogs...... and believe me, I CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS.

So the word verification is back up. Sorry everyone. Please understand. My life is already too darn stressful.

If you can't read the word verification, there is a round arrow you can click on to give you another picture.

And you can e-mail through my profile, if all else fails.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Serial Killer & The Exploding Catheter

Lately, I've been in a bit of a slump. A sort of caregiver's-burnout-don't-feel-like-doing-anything-more-than-I-have-to slump. This because Bob has been in an even worst slump. Ever since he quit PT, all he wants to do is lie around with his sore foot propped on a pillow and do nothing except shove hand towels up his butt....

I kid you not.

This is not because of any physical problem down there. No, this is because he is not moving around, not doing anything, and as he is paralyzed, he is always in the same position, flat on his butt and hence, he is perspiring down there. Profusely.

And I've got a truckload of hand towels to wash daily. And he still runs out of them. I hate to say, it's driving me nuts.

That being said, I've not been doing much this past week except fetching hand towels, and washing hand towels, and drying hand towels and folding hand towels.

That, and sort of taking a break from it all. I figure, I deserve a break, now and then. Right? And next week is going to be a busy one with three doctor's appointments and finally, a feeding tube replacement!

So, the other day, I was "taking a break" and we spent a quiet afternoon watching a movie. It was one of those the-nice-guy-next-door-turns-out-to-be-a-serial-killer movies. We were just at the climax of the movie, you know the part where the cute, but dimwitted, young heroine is standing in the serial killer's kitchen when she comes across a wallet containing the driver's license of a missing woman and it dawns on her that this nice guy, whose kitchen she is standing in, is in fact a serial killer. Just then, the killer is coming upstairs from the basement. With each step he takes, the basement stairs are creaking: creak creak creak... and you are gripping the edge of your seat and thinking run, you stupid bimbo, run!  Just then, at that very moment, there is a loud, and I mean, really loud explosive SQUEEAK!

I tell you, I shot up from my seat so fast, I nearly hit the roof. Because that SQUEEAK was not in the movie but in our house! And I thought, lord almighty, there is some kind of giant rodent or squirrel or other wild beast in the house.

Then, I looked over at Bob and to my horror saw a fountain of pee shooting from the crotch from his pants. Oh shit! And I mean this thing was shooting, straight up in the air. A long arcing stream of piss flying straight up into the air.  I tell you, I just stood there mesmerized for a moment. Amazed. I'd never seen anything like it.

Then, I dash to the kitchen to grab some hand towels, and, of course, there aren't any towels left because Bob has shoved them all up his ass. So I grab some dish towels instead and dash back to Bob and throw them on top of his crotch in an attempt to stamp out that fountain of piss. And really, I am totally baffled because this has never happened before. And Bob has his condom catheter on so why in the world is piss flying into the air. Unless his leg bag has sprung a leak. Finally, I think I've got the fountain of piss under control and I remove the towels and then attempt to pull Bob's pants down to take a look at the catheter bag, and in the process of removing his pants I somehow manage to reactivate the fountain and it shoots straight at me.

Now I am drenched with pee and, of course, Bob is drenched with pee. As is the bed. And the towels which I have quickly thrown on top of him to stop this new assault. But now I can see that the catheter bag attached to Bob's leg is empty. Which is weird. So the pee must coming out of the top of the condom catheter. I can also see that there is more urine trapped between the condom catheter and the catheter bag and it's not going down, for some reason, so that's why it's going up, instead. So I, first, detach the leg bag straps. Then I try to sort of shake the urine down into the bag. Nothing happens. Then I try to squeeze the urine down into the bag. Which truly backfires on me. And another explosion of pee squirts out the top of the catheter. Finally, I decide I must take the whole contraption off, because something is definitely malfunctioning.

Once I have the condom catheter off, I have to clean up Bob and clean up the bed, then clean up me... Then I take the condom catheter to the kitchen to get a good look at it. But I don't see any apparent problem. So I attach the still sticky condom to the kitchen faucet. I turn on the faucet and the same time taking a step backward, just in case. But the water goes down into the bag....

Evidently, there was a kink somewhere in the tube. And the urine backed up to the point it exploded out the top with a loud SQUEEAK. At least that's what I think happened.

All I can say is, glad this didn't happen out in public.

And so much for my well deserved break...