Bladder Issues Archive

12

A Vacation To Remember (Part 2)

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“You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ See the positive in negative events.” ~ Joel Osteen

I could feel something cold and wet underneath me. I didn’t have my glasses on, so I really couldn’t see. But I could smell blood. I haven’t worked as a nurse in years but I am still able to identify that stench.

My vision was blurry but the familiar sounds of heart monitor and blood pressure machines helped me realize I was in an ER. Luckily I remembered passing out so I wasn’t alarmed to be waking up in a hospital.

I could sense someone was in the room with me. Then I recognized it was a nurse. He told me his name and said the doctor would be right in to talk to me. I asked him what day and time it was; he said it was 6am Saturday morning. As the nurse changed my bloody sheets and bed pad, I asked if my husband, Tommy, could come in. He said there was no one in the waiting room but he would keep an eye out for him.

A doctor entered the room and introduced himself. He explained they really didn’t know what was wrong with me. My blood pressure had dropped dangerously low and I was bleeding in my catheter. I asked him when he thought I could be released? He said if everything went well, I could go home maybe by Sunday.

What! Sunday!

I am sure I sounded like a crazy person but all I could think to say was, “But I’m seeing Oprah today!” He laughed and said she would have to wait until I was doing better.

When the doctor and nurse left the room, I was all alone with my thoughts. I began to feel helpless. I didn’t have my phone, my purse, my ID, my glasses, and no one knew where my husband was.

But then suddenly, I began to think about all the things I learned and the inspirational people I met at the event only hours earlier. I thought about Amy Purdy who had both of her legs amputated below the knee. She became a Paralympics athlete and competed on Dancing With The Stars. She didn’t give up. She stayed strong. I told myself, “If she can do it so can I”.

And guess what? Thinking about her, made me feel better.

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A few minutes later, the nurse came back into the room and said my husband had arrived. I later found out Tommy had gone to the wrong hospital. EMS told him to drive and meet me at a hospital near our hotel but that hospital turned us away because of a shift change. So I was taken to a different hospital. Tommy drove to the original hospital and once he got there, the ER had no record of me being admitted. So from 3am to 6am, he was trying to locate me. Thank goodness he finally did. I was so happy to see him. He also remembered to bring my eye glasses and purse.

After talking to the doctor again, we sat in the ER for two more hours waiting for my circumstance to change. We were exhausted. Both of us had been up for more than 24 hours, not counting me passing out. The bleeding had stopped and my pressure was at a normal level. The doctor told us, I would be able to leave ASAP. I was discharged Saturday afternoon. All I could think was, “Oprah here I come!”

After signing my release papers and getting dressed, Tommy helped me to my feet. As soon as I stood up, everything went black. I passed out.

When I gained consciousness, the first thing I could see was Tommy signing my readmission papers. He then told me, I was going to be moved from the ER to an assigned bed in the hospital. Once I heard that, I knew my short hospital visit had turned into an indefinite stay. To make things worse, while waiting, the bleeding started again and I began feeling light headed.

Once transferred into a room, things were a little more comfortable. My Saturday and Sunday were filled with friends visiting all day. A couple even stayed overnight. By Monday, I was ready to be home. My bleeding had stopped and everyday after that I was told I would probably leave the next day. It was always something that prevented them from discharging me.

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Monday my blood pressure was too low. Tuesday my heart rate slowed down too much. Wednesday my blood count was off target and I was given 2 units in a transfusion. My release was also based on my ability to handle the six-hour drive from the Houston hospital to my home in New Orleans.

Finally Thursday, I was feeling great and everything seemed to be back to normal. They gave me one last check then I was given the all clear. We drove to New Orleans Thursday night and I was so tired after the ride.

I was in the hospital from Friday to Thursday and they still don’t know what was wrong with me. But overall, if I had a chance to do it again I would. Because the good that happened on this vacation outweighed the bad.

16

A Vacation To Remember (Part 1)

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“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

Who doesn’t love a vacation? I really like being on holiday and this one was going to be great. Why? Because I was going to see Oprah!

My husband, Tommy, wanted everything to be a surprise. He arranged our itinerary, so I only knew some basic details. We were going to Houston for 5 days to attend Oprah Winfrey’s “Life You Want” tour. It is a two-day empowerment gathering, highlighted by motivational and inspirational speakers and exercises. I was so excited because I could always use some extra motivation and inspiration in my life.

We arrived in Houston Thursday afternoon and I felt pretty good, just a little tired from the ride. The event was Friday and Saturday, so I had some time to rest up for the activities. We checked into the hotel, got some food and I went to sleep early.

Friday morning, I felt a little weak but that usually is the case for me most mornings. We got breakfast then walked to the first event. It was taking place outside and the Texas heat began beating me down. I could feel myself getting weaker by the moment. Just when I was about to give up, my first surprise happened. Two of my long time friends showed up. One resides in Houston and the other resides in Dallas. Then I found out it wasn’t a coincidence. They were going to give me a party the next day at my hotel. I couldn’t believe they would do that for me.

After an hour outside with my friends, I told Tommy I wanted to go back to the hotel room and rest up for the night events. I was so happy the next part of the experience would take place inside the Toyota Center Arena. Yes, it would be nice and cool.

On the walk back to the hotel, Tommy told me about my next surprise. He said, “Not only are you going to hear Oprah speak but you are actually going to meet her. “

Wait! What?

When he told me, I was almost speechless.

Once we got back to the room, I tried to rest but my mind was racing. After about 3 hours of being in bed and trying to relax, it was time to go. I was still feeling a little woozy after my rest but I was so excited I pushed through it. So off we went to the event. During the walk to the arena I was seeing double. It finally stopped when we got inside and I could feel the cool air on my face.

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We found our seats fairly quickly and 45 minutes later the event started. Oprah spoke for 2 straight hours and overall it was fantastic.

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At the end of the presentation, a lady I have never seen before approached me and said, “Mrs. Lemelle please stay in your seat.” Ten minutes later she escorted us through various back doors and elevators leading us into a skybox inside the Toyota Center.

She told us to wait and someone would be with us shortly. Two men in suits, wearing two way radio ear pieces, asked us to empty our pockets and leave my purse, cell phone and camera and we could get everything back after the reception. We were then brought into a room and I looked up and there she was. Oprah!

It was just my husband, a photographer, Oprah and myself in the room. And of course I forgot what I wanted to say to her.

I did tell her, I had MS.

She said, “That’s a tough diagnoses. How long have you had it?”

I replied, “I was diagnosed in 2000 “. She told me she would be portraying Richard Pryor’s grandmother in an upcoming bio picture and gave me some details on how she was thinking of playing the part. She said it called for her to use a lot of cuss words.

The photographer interrupted the conversation to announce he was ready. We all got into place, smiled and he snapped a picture. Oprah said goodbye and we were escorted back into the skybox over looking the arena.

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There were about 50 people in the room and Gayle King was greeting everyone. A woman walked up to us and handed me a copy of the picture we took with Oprah. She then told us to stay and enjoy the open bar and food.

Normally I would jump at free drinks and food but at this point I was on my last legs. I asked Tommy if we could leave and I could see the disappointment on his face. I assured him meeting Oprah was great and I just wanted to get back to the room so we could get an early start to day 2. We picked up our personal items on the way out and I was so happy to be heading back to the hotel.

After getting into the room, I took a shower and quickly got into bed. Three hours later I felt terrible. The room was spinning and I was confused. I asked Tommy to help me to the restroom. Then everything went black.

I really don’t recall much else. I just have glance accounts of what happened.

I remember someone shining a light in my eyes and asking me, “What’s your name?” “Where are you at?” “How old are you?”

I could hear them but I couldn’t answer back.

I remember seeing people walking around but my view was very faded. My eyes were going in and out of focus.

I kept saying, “I just need to go to sleep”. And hearing voices tell me, “No Nicole! Try not to go to sleep!”

That was it. I remember nothing else, until I woke up in an ER room lying in a blood stained bed.

A Vacation To Remember (Part 2)

 

15

Road Trip

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“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” ~ Earl Wilson

I’m going on vacation for two weeks. I do this once a year. Most times, I go somewhere close to home. But every once in a while, I fly to a place several hours away. My upcoming vacation will be different from both of those scenarios because this time I am taking a 6-hour road trip.

The difficulty with doing this is, my MS has always given me problems when I ride in cars. So I guess you are wondering, if that’s the case, why do it. Well, my biggest obstacles have been bladder issues due to frequent urination. Three months ago, I had a suprapubic catheter surgically implanted and I’m calling this car ride my first big test to see if it was worth getting.

During past road trips, we would stop every hour and a half so I could go to the restroom. We not only had to locate a restroom on the highway but, because of my wheelchair, it had to be an accessible restroom. Also, frequently getting in and out of the car would usually wipe me out before we even arrived at our destination. I’m hoping the catheter eliminates both problems.

So, I’m off for a couple of weeks and with any luck I will pass the test. I look forward to a fun, peaceful and MS free trip. I hope you find some time this year to relax too. We deserve it.

35

Never Apologize

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“I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes — until I met a man who had no feet.” ~ Jewish Proverbs

I’m Dying!

Or at least that’s what I feel like.

MS tends to put me in a fragile wavering psychotic state.

Between the optic neuritis, numbness, fatigue, dropping things, tripping and falling I think I may be losing my mind.

My dream for normal used to be so strong but now it is slowly withering away. Each passing day brings me less confidence that I can get my former life back. I always keep a little hope alive but that may be because I can’t face the reality that I will never get back to normal again.

MS just makes everything suck sometimes. Like when I can barely push my wheelchair two feet without getting tired. Sometimes I can only do two rotations before my arms begin to give out. I don’t think that hardly being able to move about is a good sign at all.

Despite that limitation, since my home is small, you would think that making it to the restroom would be easy even for someone who occasionally has trouble maneuvering around. But that’s not always the case.

On one of my particularly bad days, while trying to stand, my right leg decided to give out and make me better acquainted with the floor. I was trying to go to the restroom and ended up on the bathroom tile, only a few feet away from the toilet. To further humiliate myself, while face down on the floor, I could no longer stop myself from urinating. It began to trickle and I knew I had only seconds left before I was at the point of no return. I crawled and actually made it to the side of the toilet but that was about as far as my arms could pull me. Then my bladder could not hold it back any longer. Suddenly the urine broke free and it was a full-blown gusher.

I began to cry.

Yes, I was lying on the bathroom floor crying and peeing at the same time.

The worst part was that I could hear my husband, Tommy, coming into the front door. He was back from a 30-minute workout at the gym. He rarely leaves me at home alone for more than an hour. I knew he would be heading straight to the restroom to cleanup after his workout so I only had a few moments. I quickly tried to close the door by kicking it shut but my legs would not respond. Before I could think of a plan b he had turned the corner and was standing over me.

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The funny thing about Tommy is that he always appears so stoic.

He asked me, “Are you alright?”

Totally embarrassed, I shook my head yes and continued to softly cry.

He lifted me to my feet and walked me over to the toilet. I sat there while he helped me get my clothes off and then assisted me as I got into the bathtub. I ran the water and he got me towels. As I sat in the tub soaking he cleaned the urine off the floor. It was taking him a while as it had spread throughout the bathroom. I sat in the tub watching him. I started to think that he didn’t sign up for this. If I were only normal again this would have never happened.

I just kept saying, “I‘m sorry. I‘m sorry. I‘m sorry.”

From his hands and knees while crouching in urine, he looked at me and said, “Don’t ever apologize for having MS.”
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This article was first published by MultipleSclerosis.net.

22

It Was A Success

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“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work though difficult problems.” – Gever Tulley

I recently received a suprapubic catheter. The surgery was completed with no problems or complications. The main reason I had surgery was I no longer held complete control over my bladder function and the catheter will help me regain that control.

It was an outpatient procedure that lasted an hour and a half. My urologist and his team made me feel so comfortable during the preoperative instructions and evaluation that I urged my mother to stay home. My husband was there and that was enough support.

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Despite my comfort level with my doctors and the surgery, I still had the normal pre-surgical jitters.

So to ease my doubts, I persistently played in my head the reasons why I was getting the procedure done. I remembered the sleepless nights. We were waking up every three hours to use the restroom. I vividly recalled the times I returned home from a night out wearing wet soggy Depends. I called to mind dozens of ruined outings due to a weak bladder and the endless anxiety about the “restroom situation” every place I went.

I used all of these memories as my motivation to continue with the surgery.

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Now the big question is…

So, was it worth it?

The answer is…

An overwhelming YES! I would do it again tomorrow.

It’s been less than a week but so far so good. And as we all know, there is a learning curve with everything. So as I learn, I will let you know. But for now it seems to have worked out.

It was a success.

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23

Wish Me Luck

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“Life is a crisis – so what!” — Malcolm Bradbury

Over the last few years, I have had bladder problems. Before now, it was simply an inconvenience. But lately it has gotten out of control.

Everything I have tried has failed. I’ve been on various medications. I wear Depends religiously. I’ve even tried self catheterization, with little success.

I am still aware of when I need to pee; I just cannot get to the toilet in a timely fashion anymore. And when trying to use the restroom, timely is the name of the game.

I’m just simply tired of “accidents”. So this week, in an outpatient procedure, I will receive a surgically implanted suprapubic catheter. My urologist tells me it’s common for patients with multiple sclerosis.

What do you think?

I’m not really clear how visible it will be or how often it will have to be changed. Basically, I have a lot of questions. I’ll be sure and write them down so I can get the answers during my consultation.

I just can’t wait to be happy and dry. Wish me luck.

51

Pride Wins Again

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After my husband paid the bill, the receptionist slowly ushered him to the side and whispered, “It’s getting hard for us to pick her up. We need you to stay if she comes back.”

If?

I have talked about going to the hair salon a couple of times. I consider it one of my few real treats. The problem is, lately the hairdressers have to help me out a whole lot. I need help getting in and out of the chairs for washing. And drying my hair is the worst part. I am already weak and once I get under the hair dryer it zaps all of my remaining energy right out of me.

But nothing compared to what happened during my last visit. I asked the hairdresser to stop so I could use the restroom. I probably needed someone to close the door, help me pull my clothes down and physically get me to the toilet.

But I didn’t say anything. Nothing.

I just rolled to the restroom alone. Was it my pride or did I really think I could do it myself? I’m not sure. But as the urgency to micturate increased, I began to panic. Once I entered the restroom, I realized I should have asked for help. Then before I could make it to the toilet, I fell on the floor and urine spilled from me. It was all over the restroom floor then migrated into the hairdresser area.

I was so embarrassed!

Two women from the salon had to come into the restroom and help me.

After that incident, I really understand their reservations about having me as a customer. I can be a handful. And I must give it to them; they went above and beyond. Often, it’s like they were nurses to me. For this reason, when they voiced their concerns, I could not complain. So when they asked my husband to remain in the salon for the next time I come, I was just ecstatic that I could even return.

I guess MS won this round but I’m not giving up. I just hope my husband starts staying in the salon while I get my hair done. This is huge because I know he doesn’t want to stay there for hours at a time. I’m there for 2 to 4 hours, depending on what I’m getting done. Hell, I don’t want to stay that long either!

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