Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Gratitude is Being Able to Urinate

Until last year, I thought my lowest point in life was the time I was on the toilet AND throwing up. I had gotten severe food poisoning from ice cream, and it was three days of awful pain and exhaustion.

Then I had major surgery, and I learned that pain can be much, much worse.

The worst part, though, was not being able to control one of the most basic bodily functions. I haven't explained this in full on this blog, except to say that I had to go home from the hospital with a catheter. That sounds . . . not terrible. But let me tell you the details. (Trust me; I have a point.)

When you have major surgery, the anesthesiologist administers lots of intense drugs that basically put your organs to sleep. People react in so many different ways, but this is how my body reacted: I couldn't urinate on my own. My bladder kept filling up and up and up––so much that it was holding around two or three times the amount it was supposed to. I would sit on the toilet just waiting and waiting for my urethra to wake up, but it never did. After several days of being in the hospital and not being able to urinate, my doctor said I had to go home with a catheter. I was scared my body would never remember how to urinate again––so, so scared.

I won't go through the embarrassing and painful details of getting the catheter set up; instead, I'll explain what it is: a long tube that goes up your urethra and to your bladder, so that urine can freely drain. At the end of the tube is a bag, where urine is collected. If you have a catheter, you don't "go to the bathroom" the way normal people do. You go to the bathroom when the urine bag is full, and you drain the bag into the toilet.

So. Imagine having a tube (and attached 2000ml bag) between your legs all the time. Every day, all day. Sleeping is complicated. Showering is complicated. Getting dressed is complicated. Walking in public is embarrassing. Walking around at home is awkward because you have to carry the bag in one hand, which only leaves one hand free to do things. Having visitors––depending on the visitor––is also embarrassing.

After a while (about 7 or 8 days), I started to get some feeling back in my urethra. It wasn't completely back to normal, but it was enough sensation to know that I had a tube in there. It was enough to feel irritated and to feel pain sometimes. Soon after that (10 days), I was able to get the catheter out. It felt amazing. When I urinated by myself that first time––I could've cried. I think I did cry a bit, actually.

But the ordeal wasn't over. Because more often than not, people get urinary tract or bladder infections after having a catheter in for so long. That was me. Just a few days after the catheter was removed, I had a difficult time urinating again. AND it was accompanied by severe abdominal pain. It was awful.

Why am I blogging about this, you ask? Because for the last year, I've had health problems, and this weekend was no exception. I had severe lower back pain and couldn't get around very well. One of my friends kindly said, "I'm sorry, Sara. Back pain is the worst." And it is bad. It is definitely bad. Lots of things are. But I will say this: I feel like I'm doing alright if I can urinate on my own. It's a funny thing to say, but I'm serious about that. Nearly every time I sit on the toilet and things are working properly, I breathe a little sigh of relief. I feel like things are gonna be okay. The world is okay, and I have plenty in life to be grateful for.


Blogger cardlady said...

Awww, Sawa, I'm so glad you can go to the bathroom, by yourself, again. And I'm glad you have a grateful attitude, for every little thing!💖

8:44 PM  
Blogger cardlady said...

Awww Sara I'm so glad you can go to the bathroom again. I'm also glad you have a grateful attitude for every little thing. Love Mom💖

8:45 PM  
Blogger jordannsnow said...

Holding Indy all afternoon Saturday prob didn't help with the back pain. I'm so sorry! Also, I've experienced not being able to pee when I was pregnant. A half a gallon of urine through a catheter and I could pee again but i have never, ever been more uncomfortable and frustrated in my life! I'm sorry you went through that!

9:39 PM  

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