I have blogged before about incontinence talking specifically about stress incontinence. This blog will be more about the other kind of common incontinence, Urge Incontinence. Below is a definition that I copied from WebMD that provides a succinct, easy to understand definition:
Stress incontinence and overactive bladder (OAB) are the main causes of incontinence. Stress incontinence, which is more common in women, causes urine to leak when you laugh or cough. Overactive bladder, also called urge incontinence, is caused by urinary muscle spasms that cause an urgency to urinate. Incontinence can also be caused by multiple pregnancies, being overweight, and genetic weaknesses.
The reason that I am posting today is that three weeks ago I had major back surgery. For weeks before, along with intermittent excruciating back pain for years and based on an MRI and an x-ray, I was scheduled for back surgery, which I truly welcomed. The surgery was supposed to take an hour and my plan was to take a week to recover and then onto my usual life happenings. WELLLLL that isn’t the way it turned out.
My simple surgery turned into a 3-hour complex removal of old scar tissue in my lumbar 4-5 area; most likely from a previous back surgery 10 years ago, along with removal of bone pressing on nerves. WHOOO HOOO!! Needless to say, when I awoke from the anesthesia I had a lot of stuff happening that I hadn’t planned. During surgery, my doctor found that scar tissue and bone had been pressing on the sac that contains nerves to my bladder and bowel area. The sac tore during my surgeon’s effort to remove the bone that was adhering to the sac. Not his fault, as I truly believe that there was no way to do that without a tear.
Now the fun part (I am being sarcastic): As I came out of the foggy mess of anesthesia I could feel I had a very full bladder. Not a surprise, since I had a lot of IV fluids and didn’t have a urinary catheter. In any case, I pulled the call button for some help, since I couldn’t maneuver the IV stand and all of the technology I was hooked to on my own. You have to know, that being a nurse, I sure tried. Even though help came rapidly, it wasn’t fast enough. When I stood up for the first time, I peed on myself and on the floor. Along with that, and quite scary too, my bottom was numb. It was kind of like the feeling you get when you sleep on your arm or lay funny on your leg and then there is tingling as the sensation returns. Talk about feeling totally helpless and frightened.
As I began to understand more about what I was going to have to manage, I just shook my head and thought that this isn’t going to be easy. While I couldn’t feel my bottom, I could tell when my bladder was full. Perhaps, I could control my bladder after all. I could and can fortunately. However, there were still some tenuous moments when my bladder would become full and I worried about whether I would make it to the bathroom in time. So far I have.
While I am in the recovery period (and will be for 3 more weeks), I think often about those women who never regain the ability to control when they urinate. I understand their frustration and their ongoing compromise to their life. My tush area is still numb after 3 weeks and I can’t sit for very long comfortably. But every day I get more and more feeling back. Time will tell if it all comes back. I just feel so grateful that I don’t have to use pads to manage uncontrollable leaking. As I told my surgeon: before my surgery, I used to go to the bathroom so frequently that I was thinking I had an urge incontinence problem. Now it is so much better, despite the numbness that remains. Also, no more horrid pain to my leg and back as a result of compressed nerves!
A day after surgery and my notorious wetting the floor incident, I was sure I was going to have to use Always Maxi LeakGuard PLUS with Odor Lock for the rest of my life. And, I would have gladly if I needed to because nothing was going to keep me from travelling and from visiting my fabulous grandchildren. But, I don’t need to do that. However, I will always understand when someone has to go the front of the line in an event bathroom, when someone needs to use pads to manage their incontinence or when an aisle seat is needed because someone has to get up quickly to use the bathroom. Being a nurse and a fairly sensitive person, I thought I got it before. NOT LIKE NOW!!
Being an Always and Tampax women’s health expert, I was glad that I at least know and totally trust that Always products are comfortable and hold true to the advertising claims. I realize that I am being commercial, but sometimes that is ok. After all, for me, knowing there are Always products available that I can use to avoid smelling like I peed my unders was reassuring while I was dealing with the unknown. While I feel like I am doing well, I am still not 100% and appreciate the backup at times.
This is a rather personal blog, but I don’t mind sharing if it helps someone in some way. At least, please know that I get it and am always willing to listen to concerns, respond to questions and link to information that may be helpful. To that end, below is a link to Always Maxi LeakGuard PLUS with Odor Lock, should you have that need.