I have a secret which festers more every aging year: it poisons the way I feel about everyone from my dearest girlfriends to my gorgeous husband. It creeps into every aspect of my life. It is jealousy in its ugliest form. It is… bladder envy: the curse of the incontinent!
I resent everyone who can hold it in for more than 20 minutes at a time; those who say that watching a movie in a ‘proper’ theatre is the only way to really appreciate it – what’s wrong with the TV den, right next to the bathroom? And people who actually look forward to a road trip, and stock up on car-drinks, so they don’t ‘dehydrate’. Jerks.
When I was younger, I adored jumping into the car into the car and just taking off somewhere, anywhere, while movie theatres held no fear for me. Now in my 50s, I shop at stores and malls with restrooms at the entrance (handy for the exit visit too), and I must be the only person in the world who wants more ad breaks on TV! Dog wants to go walkies? Sorry Monti, Mommy’s tail ain’t wagging. Try Daddy.
My friends are used to me scuttling past them into their homes, trying to speed-walk with my knees glued together. However, visiting new people can be quite awkward; when a jaw-clenching, eye-popping, purple-faced old dear with strangely squeezed legs tries to bulldoze her way through your front door, you’re probably not going to invite her back.
But nights are the worst: I genuinely don’t think I’ve slept through since 01/01/2000, after pulling an all-nighter for the new millennium – and it gets worse every year! Now, whether I glug a litre of water just before bedtime, or ‘dry out’ for a couple of hours, it’s no different: I sleep for around 90 minutes, jolt awake, stagger-run to the bathroom, plonk down in the nick of time (or not, sometimes), wait for that sneaky last drop, stumble back to bed, glare balefully at peacefully sleeping husband, finally drop off and…
Oops, here we go again! Me: 5 pees a night. Husband: nil. I love him dearly, but as I sit on my dark lonely ‘throne’, oh how I hate him!
My friends complain that they often ‘leak’ when they laugh, sneeze or cough. Some of them also need to pee frequently and suddenly, and even suffer little ‘accidents’ on occasion. All of us have to go more at night, without fail – but sadly, none so much as me!
My case is extreme: an overactive bladder that wasn’t built to stand the test of time. Fantastic advancements in incontinence products have saved my ass and my dignity countless times (except when the ‘walk of shame’ was particularly dramatic), but my spontaneity and socializing do suffer: I literally plan my life around bathroom proximity.
I hate my condition, and I’m jealous as hell of everyone whose bladder behaves itself – but I love my life and everyone in it, I even love my age, and I won’t let a faulty valve get me down (too much). If laughter really is the best medicine, I’ll take a double dose – and if I ‘spring a leak’, let’s just hope I get to the toilet in time!