Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Toilet talk

Let's face it. Nobody really feels comfortable talking about their bladder or bowels. It's something that you have to get use to when you have MS. A routine question at the end of an appointment with the Neuro or MS Nurse is "bladder, bowels?".

Mine are irritatingly unpredictable. My bladder (compliment from urologist - you have a very large bladder) either runs all day without disturbing me or requires me to go to the toilet every half hour. I've tried to train it with alarms going off at work, but that hasn't quite done the trick.

My bowel is the same, but on a larger and longer scale. Either I seem to have constipation for days at a time or I have to go a few times. Every so often (touch wood it is very rare) I have what can only be called an explosion. When you have very little nerve action or muscle control below the waist it is sometimes hard to tell which message is trying to reach your brain and how urgently.

What feels like trapped wind or a vague bladder urge turns out to be something rather more urgent and messy. This has only ever happened to me at home, until today. Today it happened at work in the afternoon. Too much information coming up, feel free to stop reading if you don't need to know - but alternatively if you have some similar problems, keep reading so that you know you aren't alone.

I nearly reached the ladies in time. Really nearly. Ever changed a nappy? You get the picture. I cleaned up with the cheap nasty toilet roll our building supplies, and then again and some more. Knickers went in the sanitary bin wrapped in half a toilet roll... and I had to 'go commando' (as Joey from "Friends") would put it. I'm going to have to take a leaf out of Allison's book (played by Ally Sheady in the "Breakfast Club") and carry some underwear in my bag!

After 45 minutes (some cleaning up, a little "what do I do now?" and teeny bit of hysteria) one of my colleagues appeared to make sure I wasn't trapped in the lift; or given occasional propensity to tip over perhaps make sure I hadn't fallen over and hit my head.

I'm seeing the Nurse tomorrow by happy coincidence, but from recollection there is not a great deal to do for these here and there problems except be prepare, hope, and always keep a sense of humour. Yes, it was horrible and messy, and a little bit embarrassing (even explaining obliquely to my colleague why I'd been in the ladies for so long). It needs to be shared, because it isn't that unusual for people with MS and you aren't alone if it has happened to you.


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