Why An Overactive Bladder Is Like Having A Two Year Old

Why An Overactive Bladder Is Like Having A Two Year Old

My Body And I Don’t Always Agree

My body and I have a mutual relationship. I do my best to look after it and in return it tries not to embarrass me in public. When we have a falling out I’m usually left dealing with the biological equivalent of a stroppy toddler flapping about on the supermarket floor. To be fair, the disagreement is usually my fault. My body begs me for a few days of total bed rest while I insist on baking ginger bread or prancing about like an idiot in the snow. There are times however, when I do everything right and I still lose. I stick to my routines like clock work, take all my medication, lay in bed bored senseless staring at the ceiling and still my body is out to get me. Tonight is no exception. I know I need a good night sleep so I can catch up on work tomorrow before packing for my holiday. I disconnect my feeding tube, take my medication and head to the bathroom to catheterise.

The Worst Tantrums Happen At Bedtime

As soon as my head hits the pillow my bladder wakes up, “Hey you, I need the toilet.” I try to ignore it knowing that there can’t be more than half a teaspoon of urine in there but it just shouts louder. “Hey, Hello. Yes you, the one pretending to be asleep. I’m fit to burst”. I throw the covers off and waddle to the bathroom where I sit on the loo for twenty minutes only to be rewarded with a measly three drips of wee. I head back to bed, close my eyes and start to drift off. “Yoohoo! I’m bored, I want to go to the loo again!” I’m up and down every few minutes for an hour until my bladder throws a full blown tantrum and goes into a spasm.

I call my bladder Dennis. Dennis the menace.

Sleep Is A Lost Cause

By now the nice sleepy effects of my medication have worn off so I’m left to my body’s own attempt at falling asleep. It goes something like this:

  1. Close eyes
  2. Open eyes
  3. Close eyes
  4. Have I left the bathroom light on?
  5. Keep eyes closed
  6. Close eyes tighter
  7. It’s working, I’m drifting…
  8. Here’s the outlines for the next seven articles you have to write.
  9. Open eyes
  10. I need a wee

I thought once I started self-catheterising I would be able to empty my overactive bladder properly and not have to think about wee for a good few hours. During the day this is often the case, although now I’m realising I’ve just learnt to distract Dennis with forest walks and Netflix. Night time is when I lose all my ammunition and it’s simply a battle of will. Sometimes I can distract Dennis with a Friends DVD playing quietly in the background and often a hot water bottle soothes him to sleep. But tonight, like so many nights, Dennis is wide awake, bored and his tantrum beats me. I leave my wife fast asleep, grab my pillow and head to the spare room.

The Toddler Finally Falls Asleep

It’s 6 am by the time Dennis falls asleep. I’ve been to the toilet eleven times during the night, wrote a month’s worth of tweets and finally finished season eight of Dexter. I lay down, close my eyes and smile at the thought of getting just a few hours sleep. Just as I’m dozing off I realise something…I’m thirsty. Suddenly Dennis wakes up.

'I call my bladder Dennis. Dennis the menace' - Carrie Beckwith-Fellows

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by Carrie Beckwith Fellows

Carrie Beckwith Fellows

About the author

Hi I'm Carrie, I live in rural Northumberland. I have complex health issues including severe intestinal dysmotility and bladder dysfunction caused by Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. You can follow my blog at www.ruralteacake.com.

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