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Showing posts from July, 2009

Addams Family Values

Vincent and I were having lunch last week and he asked me one of those questions that was probably lurking for years waiting to spring on me and remind me that I talk too much. He asked me what I meant when I said that Carolyn and I base our marriage on the movie "Addams Family Values", an observation I make on a pretty regular basis.

I have to admit, I didn't have a particularly good answer off the top of my head. It's one of those things we say to newly married friends or people who wonder at our 23 years together. We'll also say things like: "The booze helps!" when asked about our longevity as a couple and I'd never given that much thought either. So why do we say such things?

I almost hate to think about it too much. We don't spend much time thinking about the mechanics of our marriage or why we do and say certain things. Just as your peripheral vision is sharper than your direct stare, sometimes it's best to keep looking ahead and let the…

Incontinence Part III

...And then I lost bladder control. A little. They warned me this might happen. I think after the catheter was out, my muscles, once encouraged to get back to work, stayed in clench mode for the better part of a week. When they finally began to relax, some weakness began to manifest itself when sneezing or coughing.

That was a week ago. Since then, I've become something of an expert on male pads. Thanks to some good advice from one of Carolyn's coworkers who went through this last year, I've learned that the Serenity brand of pads for men seems to be the best. The Depend diapers certainly did the job, but were overkill for the small amount of leakage I seem to be suffering. If I was looking at a weekend pub crawl or a cross country stalker drive, I might consider them. Carolyn bought me a package of "Prevail" brand male pads. They worked just fine too. My only complaints were they were a bit bulky and the name made it sound like I was fighting a protracted trench…

Choices

During the drive in to get the catheter out, we talked about the near miraculous results of the robotic surgical procedure. We wondered why anyone would submit to open abdominal surgery at all? I suppose at one level, you have a large entrenched base of surgeons used to doing this procedure a certain way. To change that requires not only additional training but frequent access to a robotic system that must be insanely expensive and in high demand. It also struck me that robots are very good at doing precise things in predictable environments . How the system would work with someone who was, say, morbidly obese or had had previous surgery that left scarring inside, is beyond me.

While we were waiting in the doctor's office, almost on cue, a really overweight man arrived for an appointment. He must have been somewhere north of 350 lbs and I'm guessing in his late 60's. A very nice guy with a good sense of humor, he was nonetheless, in terrible physical distress. His breathing…

Incontinence Part II

By the time we got home, the uncontrolled laughter and urination had subsided and I felt pretty nasty. I changed out of the really soaked diaper and showered. I spent my first catheter-free night wearing a diaper. Seemed sensible after the leaky day. Not comfortable. The plastic gets so sweaty it actually fooled me into thinking I had filled it up. I'm down in the bathroom at 3 in the morning earnestly pinching the absorbent pad and wondering why it wasn't wet. I spent the rest of the night wondering how an otherwise sane man would end up doing such a thing.

In the morning the diaper looked dry so I got brave and tried shifting to a pad. Way more comfortable though at night it was still strange, like having a few wadded up baggies stuffed between your legs. Amazingly, I seemed to be getting bladder control back. Sneezing tended to yield some unfortunate results and I had to concentrate a bit when standing up or sitting down. By Thursday I was going commando. At least I was goi…

Incontinence

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Leaving the doctor's office began what might be the most difficult part of this process. Thus far the improvements have been coming very quickly. I'm one week from check-in at the hospital and I'm walking around bag and tube free. I can climb stairs and stay on my feet for long stretches of time. I'm sleeping a good deal but I have a lot of energy. From here on out, we're waiting for my insides to heal - hence the bicycling ban for 3 months. There's no way to remove the prostate surgically without traumatizing the muscles that control bladder functions. Only one in four men have full control of their bladders at this point in recovery. Sadly, I'm not one of them. I'm sporting a pair of Depend man-diapers as we head off for lunch at the Daily Cafe in the Pearl District.

I'd like to say a few things here about incontinence. It plays a lot on our subconscious. We were taught as infants that it's bad to wet your pants. When our parents finally toile…

Back to the Doctor's

Between Friday and Tuesday I got used to having a catheter. I didn't travel from home during that time. I was happy wandering around the house in my shorts with my bag taped to my leg.

I had a night bag that looked like it could hold a couple super-sized big gulps. That hung off the side of the bed and meant I had no late night trips to the bathroom. The smaller day bag was attached to my leg and needed to be emptied every 3 or 4 hours. A few days of changing and emptying bags and you settle right in to the routine. I stopped being squeamish about having a rubber hose coming out of the end of my penis and went to great lengths to keep everything clean to prevent infection. They gave me oxycodone for pain but the only real discomfort I had were frequent bladder spasms and occasional cramping. Really quite manageable. I'm still on pretty heavy antibiotics to reduce possible infections related to the catheter so I tapered off the pain meds. One or two at night and one or two dur…