Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~The Three Ps: Pee, Pads,and Pubic Hair

Being a lady, only lately, has incontinence been openly talked about. To me, nothing is totally sacred and taboo so I talk about it openly. Today there are a million commercials on television about urinary incontinence. Bladder control or uncontrolled is no longer a hush-hush subject. Although going out in public with urine soaked panties is still embarrassing. It's a dignity issue.

After a stroke, everyone sees the paralyzed limbs or hears the monotone or hesitant speech. But not many give thought to the unseen muscles that are paralyzed also within the body. The conscious effort a stroke survivor does to exercise these muscles to restore them or work around them like the throat, bowels, peritoneal, and the diaphragm. Those are are hidden inside. We strive for control and sometimes fail.

I make no secret about my urinary control issues over the past year and before. It's a natural process of the body and an integral functioning part. In computer lingo it's GIGO (garbage in garbage out). If you put food and liquids into the body it has to process the waste somehow.

I loss feeling or sensory deficits in very few places with my stroke and I am lucky. I didn't feel this way a year ago when I had my stroke, but now I'm grateful. Sure I walk around with the right side of my face full of Novocaine slightly wearing off. You know the sensation when it isn't the big lip but can't quite feel anything either. Yep that's the one. It make chewing an adventure. My coughing has changed. My husband who is 90% deaf can't hear me yell for help but comes running when I cough now from another room. I'll end up with bruises on my outer right leg and have no idea how I got them. But the most irritating loss is the sensation of having to pee without having to shift my body weight. Being unable to distinguish whether I have to urinate or defaecate is only a mild irritation since I'm on the commode already.

I transitioned from catheter to diapers to pads in a few short weeks. For this I'm forever thankful! Diane over at the Pink House blog still deals with these issues. While I may deal with these issues with my own DH (darling hubby), it's not a continuous issue like with her yet. She now blogs about clogged and catheter explosions.

I even save money buying menstrual pads now because of greater control. But have yet to transition to panties liners. Another huge step to work on. I still have the occasional accident but I am doing better. Now that I'm out and about more causes me to look where the bathrooms are anyplace I am to judge the distance, and the time needed to get there just in case.

With pads there are drawbacks because they really aren't meant to be worn day in and day out for a years. I've had diaper rashes because of the waterproof liners. While my children were in diapers they occasionally experienced this problem. I would coo and commiserate with their pain as I treated it. I was too young to remember my own bouts.

Until recently that is. Is anything more uncomfortable than a burning, itching, painful rash between the legs? Do you run to the doctor for it? Would you have someone else apply diaper rash medicine? It hurts to sit. It hurts to stand. It hurts when taking a step. It even hurts when you are lying down. Yeah some of you know what I'm talking about. The rest of you are just lucky. I recently saw a commercial for Balmex for adults. What a relief! It's not only me! If they are advertising it there must be millions.

The last thing in the title I wanted to address is pubic hair. (No, I wouldn't think about adding a picture) Yes, this is a risque subject sort of, but hey, I have very few taboos. Over at Amy Shissler's stroke blog earlier this month there was an interesting discussion on gray hair that took a turn to hilarious thanks to Barb Polan, Dean and I. The discussion turned from Amy finding her first gray hair, she's only 32, to balding, to finding your first gray pubic hair. I mentioned that the adhesive strips on my pads have made bald patches on my pubis. Why pay out huge amounts of money for bikini waxes...just get pads. The adhesive strips on those things will pull out hair follicles! So save money and use pads!

Yes, I'm starting a new trend... the polka dotted pub.

Nothing is impossible with determination


  1. It used to be taboo to talk about pubic hair???

  2. It just wasn't said or talked about in genteel circles.

  3. I had the opposite problem before and was somewhat relieved to not have leaking urine. I had urinary retention, and it was quite a nightmare. I had a chronic uti that progressed to a kidney infection. Oh the pain!!! A million antibiotics, and months of crudeting my bladder it finally resolved. As far as the pubic hair, maybe I'm strange but I've always hated it. Here comes TMI. I had laser hair removal several times, but it eventually came back. I shave it all just like my legs. That waxing and pad removal in patches is much too painful. Maybe shaving any remaining patches would reduce the pain of sticky pad removal.

  4. Hi Elizabeth, John, & Jack- As far as UTI and kidney infections go, the worst I've ever had was from catheters. I honestly feel the same way about pubic hair but it does serve a purpose as a filter. I sure don't want polka dots. Yes shaving would be less painful, but I can't use razors and would almost have to stand on my head to shave there.

  5. Amy, yes, it was taboo even when I posted it; it's only my appreciation of the humor in it all that compelled me to comment about it. Another taboo topic related to pee and pubic hair: my pubic hair was really long when I got out of rehab and using TP to wipe was not completely effective and left some urine still attached. As showers are so effing difficult logistically, I tended to skip showers. Limited showers and peed-on public hair results in the WORST smell. I thought about using baby wipes, but decided wet public hair would be just as bad. The real solution is to work up a sweat exercising so that a shower is not optional.

    Jo, re leaking pee, I lose a little every time I sneeze - or even laugh hard. In addition, I feel as though I have to pee even when there's little in there; going places with my husband, it makes him crazy. I usually feel the urge every hour, which is just not acceptable on a road trip.

  6. But Barb, I actually had surgery to correct that problem a couple years before my stroke. Now it a paralyzed sphincter muscle control issue rather than a weak one.

    If I could get my money back from the surgical procedure I would but it seems to have an act of God clause in there.


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