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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 280 - Accepting Exile

Well, crap...time for another post about incontinence.

Bladder and bowel incontinence are a demeaning and all-too-real part of many illnesses. In a way it's worse than pain, because you can power through the hurt, at least to some degree.

Incontinence is different. It takes away your pride.

There are those who are willing to make use of adult diapers, to allow at least a modicum of mobility and independence, something that helps one to avoid the social exile of the shut-in.

I have tremendous respect for those who can do this; it's a refusal to be beaten back by circumstance.Everybody has bowel and bladder movements, after all. We like to pretend we don't, but a healthy regard for the benefits of socialization and the willingness to face down the sense of shame is, to me, heroic.

But it's just not possible for some, and I'm part of that number.

There's simply nothing I want to do out in the world that would make up for the stigma of potentially having to sit in my own waste, at least until I can get to a bathroom for some messy cleanup. Going to a movie would be a hanging-on-the-edge of my seat experience in more ways than one, and going out to dinner...ugh. That does not bear thinking about.

In a way it's a selfish attitude, because I'm taking away from my wife the possibility of doing things together. But I think, and hope that she understands that it's a disgrace and practical inconvenience that I just can't face. I've lost a lot, in terms of self-respect; diapers would just about finish me off.

The social eile of being at home is better. Having quick access to a bathroom I can often forestall accidents, and if the worst happens, cleanup is easier...and private.

And my wife does not have to see me degraded. I'd rather she remember our time together at its best, and not to have those memories overlain by the sight of me waddling off to a public washroom.

And not having to carry a diaper bag.

There are other reasons I really can't go out; it's hard to ride in a car, as the vibration's too painful; there's enervating fatigue, and it's gotten really difficult to talk. A nice inner at Olive Garden would be pretty quiet (assuming I didn't throw up, which happens a lot).

But the incontinence issue, were it the only one, would be sufficient. I just can't go there.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you feel that I'm a prideful Neanderthal who's tripping over his self-conceit, let fly.

A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.

Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.


And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.

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  1. I wonder what the real Neanderthals did about relieving themselves. They certainly didn't have diapers, plumbing or even outhouses.

  2. I often come to read. To listen. To think. My friend's husband died in November after just 11 weeks since diagnosis. My dear email pal is now alone. I read what you write for myself. When will my husband's cancer come back? Who knows. I pray for continued healing but we'll see. What you write helps me store away things I might need later down the road. It's also a sobering reminder of life, and sickness and the future. I cry sometimes. I worry sometimes. I stand on faith sometimes. I am sometimes reminded how weak I am. And other times how much I can be strong. It's all a mystery of feelings and worries but also of God is in control and just hang on. Thank you for writing so honestly. It helps.

    1. Ohm Sharon! Please excuse my delay in replying, and please know that you are in my prayers. That my writing is a help to you...that is a very high honour indeed. Thank you so much for this gracious comment, and for being here.

  3. I know how I am when I have digestive issues... I don't get too far from the bathroom. I understand. I continue to pray for you, brother, and I appreciate your vulnerability in sharing all of your life. Stay strong in Him.

    1. Julie, we definitely think alike here! Thank you for chiming in, and for your prayers and support.

  4. I'm with Julie. The times when I've had "issues" I'd much rather just stay close to home. You're looking at the big picture, not being prideful. There's something to be said for finding comfort where you can. No shame in that.

    I continue to pray for you, Barb and the dogs.

    1. Jeanne, yes, absolutely...no shame in finding comfort where and when you can. Love the way you said this, and we truly appreciate your prayers.

  5. Aw, Andrew! I love how you dare to dive into the real issues of patienthood. I don't think you're a Neanderthal. Ask any woman, there are times of the month when WE don't want to venture too far from home ;). And about those Depends...it depends on what Barb thinks! I doubt if she'd want you to be in pain, so I doubt that she'd want you to go--but a gal likes to be asked her opinion!

    1. Anita, thank you so much for this. I did show this post to Barb, and she agreed with my way of looking at it. Surgery took away her 'that time of the month' issues years before we met, but she does remember, and can certainly sympathize.

      Thanks so much for being here!

  6. Okay... this just cracked me up! I'm not altogether sure you meant for it to be funny but it made me laugh. Not AT you because it's totally not a fun issue to deal with but with the sheer honesty and truth you speak. I can understand that whole pride thing and it's not a bad thing. You are dealing with what you are dealing with and you know your limits and boundaries. Praying for you friend and glad you still have the ability to speak truthfully and honestly. It helps all of us! Thanks!

    1. Rachel, I'm so glad this gave you a laugh, because really, you've got to be able to laugh at it to get through on an even keel.

      I love the way you put this, about knowing one's own limits and boundaries. That's so exactly right.

      And thank you so very, very much for the prayers.