Life wi the Broons: bladder bother

women in public loo - cartoon
She said the words I’d been dreadin for years, “you’re retaining a fair bit Anne, let’s check it again in a fortnight.”

The continence advisor put the scanner away after she’d done the routine scan o’ ma bladder and we talked aboot the implications. It could be fine next time, but might lead tae the dreaded self-catheterisation.

I’ve hud bother wi ma bladder since the start an’ huv gradually worked ma way through a’ the stuff tae help. First wis stop caffeine an’ dae exercises like the ones you dae when you’ve just hud a wean, stoppin peein mid stream an’ so on, which didny help, an’ it wis still TenaLady is us.

Next wis the tablets, an’ that helped for a guid wee while. Later it wisny the goin a’ the time that wis the problem, it wis goin but no peein! I’d be in there for ages, manage a trickle, then huv tae go back again a couple o’ minutes later. Whit a performance, especially when you’re oot anywhere, the first priority is tae find the nearest toilet an’ stay as close tae it as you can.

The continence advisor helped a lot by gettin me a bladder stimulator. That worked a treat, but it has one major drawback, in that it gets placed over your bladder, jist above the pubic bone, and vibrates to make your bladder empty, it vibrates LOUD! Noo, when it comes tae a public toilet, you dinny want to be locked in a cubicle wi a thing goin ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ for two or three minutes, then you comin oot wi a huge grin o’ relief on your face!

The ither thing that helps is tae pee, get up, move aboot, swing your hips aboot for a couple of minutes, then try again, often wi some success. But again though, in public toilets folk must think you’re awfy odd. Maybe they think you’re doin the pishy dance, like a sort o’ rain dance, to the great god Urine.

But we’re dealin wi a whole different thing if we’re talkin catheters. The fortnightly scans started, an’ each time I wis still retaining, which meant each time the catheter talk got closer. Luckily I’ve got a group of folk that I can talk aboot anythin tae, and I wis among those when the subject wis raised. We were roond a table, eatin oor lunch but that didny stop somebody whippin a catheter oot her bag and lettin us a’ see. It wisny as scary as I thought and she telt us that, at first, she’d hud tae use it by sittin on the edge o’ the bed wi a mirror an’ a basin, but noo she can dae it on the toilet pan. It didny seem as bad as I’d thought, so when the next scan came an’ I got leaflets wi diagrams, that I could compare wi ma 'bits' and familiarise maself wi, it a’ it wisny too scary.

I bought a magnifyin mirror an’ promptly hud cold feet an’ put it away wi the leaflets till the next appointment came round an’ I hud tae deal wi it. The time came an’ I headed for the toilet, tellin hubby what I wis gonny dae, an’ that I might be a while. Always sympathetic tae ma plight, he mutterred something aboot a pith helmet an a length o’ rope, an’ even offered me a loan of his head torch tae see where I was goin. Wi his laughter followin me I went an’ did the deed!

The next day, at the scan, things were better! Flamin typical! So we’re no ready tae go doon that road yet, but when the time comes, I’m no anythin like as scared as I wis aboot it, so it wis a’ worthwhile.

The latest in a series of blog posts by our Scots writer, Anne Brown. Illustration by our wonderful volunteer, Elfreda Crehan.