The summer of my discontinence: Day 4

By Michael Owen

Now where were we? Blood in urine, two doctors, one hospital (twice), one biopsy and now I’m back at home.

Well, after a half-day of freedom back at the house, the old bladder decided it had suffered enough abuse. It was pissed off, so to speak, and went on strike. This is not my diagnosis. That’s what a doctor later told me.

All day long I was putting water in as I’d been told to do. But as the day progressed, less and less was coming out, even though I had the physical sensation that I REALLY had to go.

Then it just stopped altogether.

At that point my lower belly was slightly distended and felt like an over-inflated football. That’s it, we’re headed back to the ER, I said.

When my name was finally called, I was taken back to a little curtained space to wait for an available treatment room. But at that point a nurse felt my bladder (from the outside, for a change) and realized they’d better do something quickly.

Then a very cute young blonde nurse hurried in, drew the curtain around us, handed me one of those gowns and told me to strip completely from the waist down. Normally I would say something pithy like, “But we haven’t even been introduced!” But I was not in a humorous mood. And besides, she’d taken my wife by the arm and stepped outside while I undressed.

Now that almost made me laugh. First, my wife has seen me without pants. We’re Episcopalians. Second, this nurse and I were about to get staggeringly intimate, so why was the simple act of taking off my pants such a big deal?

Screw modesty. My bladder was about to go Hindenburg.

Anyway, she came back in and wasted no time in whipping out a catheter and deftly inserting it, bless her heart.

The word “relief” doesn’t even come close. I’m not sure how much I peed, but I’m surprised the nurses didn’t have to form a bucket brigade.

Once I stopped thanking Jesus and the nurse (and not in that order, forgive me Lord) she explained the workings of the catheter and the “leg bag” that would be ,strapped to the inside of my leg – left leg, if that’s any of your business. Then she showed me the care and feeding of the “hanging bag,” which I would use at night.

“I’m afraid you’re going to have to use these for a few days,” she said apologetically.

Have to?

Hell, this is football season, I thought. I saw myself kicked back in an easy chair with a cooler of beer beside me and a small hose running out back into the bushes.

(Tomorrow: Real men don’t “teetee”)


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