The first was my bi-annual visit with my neurologist. I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing him after the last emotional roller coaster. However, it turned out to go really well. I was able to push forward and pull backward with strength.
Miracle of miracles, I was actually able to walk three steps heel to toe. I know this might not seem like a big deal, but when I was first hit with the MS, I wasn’t even able to do one, let alone balance.
Now I’m able to stand on one foot for up to thirty seconds and I walked heel to toe. This is thanks to the care I’ve taken with my body in terms of eating better and the exercise regime that I was given by Sarah Zahab from Continuum Fitness.
At the end of the appointment, my neurologist told me that I was stronger than the baseline that had been established on my first appointment with him. That was great news. I felt stronger and more able to go forward and confront what came next.
What came next was the appointment I had this morning with the urologist clinic. I wasn’t looking forward to this. I had been told that the appointment would involve a catheter.
I was finally referred to the urologist due to my bladder problems. I always feel like I need to urinate, sometimes getting up every hour or every two hours at night. I can’t remember what it’s like to have a full nights sleep.
Often, it feels as if I have to go, there is a build up of pressure, but nothing comes out. Sometimes at night, I urinate and then wait, because I know that I’ll have to do so again. I was both dreading and looking forward to this appointment. Dreading it because of the catheter, looking forward to it because it would hopefully mean a solution and perhaps a full nights sleep. It should be noted that not everyone with MS has bladder issues, but most of us do. I have CP and MS, each of which have their own bladder issues.
I went in my nurse told me to change into two hospital gowns, one to the front and one to the back. It didn’t occur to me that I would essentially be naked in front of her, but I suppose it should have. Then she explained what was going to happen. This will get a little graphic, but I’ll be brief.
She explained that it would be a fairly invasive procedure but I would not be sedated as she needed me alert enough to talk to her through out the procedure. There would be two catheters placed in the urethra of my penis: one to measure the pressure and state of my bladder during urination and the other to insert a saline solution into my bladder to see how much it could hold.
She assured it that it was possible to urinate around both catheter’s, that I would have to and if I felt like I had to urinate, to go ahead and do it. Oddly enough, I was more embarrassed by the idea of peeing in front of someone than I was with the whole procedure.
A third catheter would be placed in my anus. At the end, a small balloon would inflate to keep it in the anus but to apply pressure to my bladder. Apparently, this helped them get a better reading.
I told her I wouldn’t have a problem with anything going in my anus, that this wouldn’t be an issue. It seemed an inappropriate comment to make, but I smiled anyway. Smiling made me feel lighter about the whole ordeal.
Then we began. The pumps began their work and the measurements were taken. I had to urinate three times during the procedure. I was on a chair that had a hole like a toilet with a cone that caught everything and stowed it away for safe disposal. She told me that if I did have to urinate to just go ahead and do so, not to hold it back. At first, I was hesitant to pee in front of a stranger, but the need to urinate was stronger than my hesitation.
Though out the whole procedure, she kept up a steady conversation and kept me at ease and relaxed. We talked about my writing (she was going to look at my web site), what cologne I was wearing (burburey weekend) and complimented me on it as most men’s colognes are really strong. She asked me what other symptoms I had been dealing with and how it was living with both Cerebral Palsy and Multiple Sclerosis.
She kept up a steady stream (hahaha) of conversation all though out. You know how some people are meant to be nurses or doctors and others aren’t? Well she was one that was very suited to her job. You could tell that, no matter how gross it was, she enjoyed being able to help people. She was an Every Day Angel and I’m immensely thankful to her.
When everything was done and she had taken all the data she needed, she began to remove the tape from my penis keeping the catheter’s in place and then removed the catheters themselves. Then she removed the catheter from my anus. It slid out with no problems. She said “That one came out with no problems!”
I sat there naked from the waist down having peed in front of a stranger, two catheters removed from my penis and one from my anus and…I just laughed. I let out several hiccups of giggles followed by a few minutes of healthy, cleansing laughter. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh.
Because it you can’t laugh about it, what else is there to do?
Now I wait. I find out what the results will be on the 18th, whether I’ll receive medication or I’ll have to use a personal catheter. Either will be fine, though I know which one I’ll prefer.
In the meantime, I’ll keep on laughing and finding joy in the small things.