Bladder of Steel

At work this morning I noticed I was holding my pee. Again. I may be treading on too-much-information ice here, but I do that a lot and I’m not sure why. Because I can?

Frequently I find myself trapped on the espresso bar and I can’t actually get to the bathroom for, like, twenty or thirty minutes. But then there are all the times that I do have an opportunity but I get side tracked, thinking I need to fill the sleeves (then I’ll go to the bathroom) or fill the cups and straws (after that I’ll pee) or brew more coffee (then I can head to the potty).

I mentioned something to Sarah about it; “Do you ever find yourself holding your pee for no reason?” She said no, not really, she usually has a reason for holding it and she looked at me like I was wearing my underpants on my head. “Oh,” I said. Maybe it’s just me?

As a child I had a recurring, incredibly frustrating, bladder and kidney problem that, to this day, no one has ever fully explained to me. I don’t know what it’s called, and I didn’t know how it was treated until Douille got really sick last year and the vet gave us antibiotics in a pink liquid that gave me the most intense flashback. Aha! So that’s what I was taking every night before bed when someone would shove that spoon in my mouth! Antibiotics. So, there was an infection . . .?

At my parents’ house for dinner a few years ago, the subject came up (don’t ask me how since I have no idea) and my dad said “I hope you realize you had a medical condition,” which I did not, and I said as much before I made sure everyone knew that my mom once threatened to send me to kindergarten in diapers if I didn’t stop wetting the bed at night, at which point my dad got pissed off at my mom, I was satisfied that she was finally in trouble for that, and someone changed the subject.

I don’t know if I had weak bladder muscles or some sort of kidney infection or what. But I remember scores of doctor’s visits where I got ultrasounds and a few catheters (“Look! That’s your bladder on the screen! There’s a camera inside your bladder! Isn’t that neat?”), not to mention the eight hundred times I had to pee in a cup while some impatient medical tech turned on the faucet in a Pavlovian attempt to get me to go, or forced me to drink glass after glass of water so I’d have to go eventually.

Then there’s the time they took some sort of biopsy and it took three nurses and the doctor to hold me down in quarters while a fifth person approached me slowly wielding a needle I recall being about three feet long and six inches in diameter. Or thereabouts. I screamed for my mom who was in the waiting room because I didn’t understand what they were doing to me and why she wasn’t there.

Lack of information has always been unsettling to me. I want to know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how long it’ll take. This is why I absolutely love my dentist but have had a lot of anxiety about doctors’ and dental visits. Dr S. asked me how much I needed to know after my first cleaning a few months ago and I said “All of it.” Perhaps I was scared as a child because no one explained to me what was happening or why I was in all those situations. Or perhaps that’s why I need to know now; because no on gave me the information then.

Either way, I’m proud to announce that I haven’t wet the bed in 18 years, despite many dreams involving water and peeing and going into childbirth (where my water broke in the dream but it was more like peeing since I have no idea what that’s like), and I can hold it for a really long time.


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