Friday, July 6, 2012

The Travel Challenge


I love taking vacations, but I hate traveling. For years my job required that I travel by car and airplane. I think my dislike stems from associating travel with working. But now that I am “retired” (disabled), all of my travel is for pleasure. That’s the good side.

However, I still hate traveling just for a different reason. This time the offender is urinary incontinence.

I saw a definition for urinary incontinence that read, “Any involuntary leakage of urine. It can be a common and distressing problem, which may have a profound impact on quality of life.”

That says it all.

I can’t make any plans or go anywhere without thinking about the restroom situation. I have learned to manage traveling around town, but going out of town can be hard. 

On a recent car trip to a National MS Society weekend retreat, we stopped four times adding an extra hour to the drive. The problem is when the urge to go to restroom hits, I have to go to the restroom at that exact moment! There is no holding it until later. In a good situation I have five minutes tops to make it to a bathroom, but most of the time it’s too persistent and it comes out in less than a minute. I do take medication, which helps, but it’s not entirely fail-safe.

Because of this, I had to humble myself and begin using adult diapers. But, I must admit that, while horrifying to this 37 year-old, they have allowed me to be more relaxed and enjoy myself. I am no longer afraid to take long trips. Even though I still have to scout my surroundings for the nearest restroom location, I don’t have to continuously wonder if I have gone too far from a lavatory to make it on time. It has given me the freedom to enjoy festivities and the people I am with.

If I soil the incontinence panties during a long trip, we still have to stop so I can change into a new pair. I guess this is just another issue that I have to learn to deal with. 

How about you? What accommodations have you made to cope with the challenges your "new normals" present when traveling?

23 comments:

  1. usually it's a problem after water aerobics. I'm glad if my husband is not home when I return after the workout because more often than not I can't make it to the bathroom quick enough. So I can do a load of laundry before he gets home from work, I, too, am retired (dis) at the of 58. He is not aware of this problem. I've been able to keep it 'my secret'...but it's a real problem. Thank you for sharibng.

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    1. Yofee,

      Wouldn't it make your life easier if you could share this issue with your husband? My DH is involved with every aspect of my life and has always been, with and without MS.

      So far my UT dysfunction is in the time it takes me to relax enough to release urine to let it out. The second I feel rushed or stressed it just closes up and doesn't flow. Boy is THAT a reversal from the way I used to be! ;)

      Be well,
      Maris

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    2. fortunately it doesn't happen very often, and thankfully not when we travel. I don't know why I keep this to myself, after 33 years of marriage. It's a 'catch 22', have to drink ice water during the class so as not to get overheated, but just being in the pool for an hour can trigger that probblem. I'm in the pool 5x/week! Any suggestions?

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  2. Oh my goodness Yofee! How difficult for you that you don't feel able to share this symptom with your husband! I sure hope reading about others sharing the same problem might give you the courage to tell him.

    It's been about 6 or 8 mo's for me that I've had to wear incont products. Being that I was dx'd back in '93, I feel grateful it's taken this long to happen.

    My biggest complaint about having a leaky bladder is how it compromises my sense of sexuality.

    ~Trish:-)

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    1. Trish, Yes the sexuality thing is really awkward with having incontinence.

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    2. thank you...he is so involved in every other aspect, it's the only part I keep to myself. We've been narried 33 years and share everything, not sure why I feel this way.

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    3. not sure why I keep this to myself, denial? He is part of EVERYTHING else! Married 33 years, no secrets.

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  3. There are different causes for bladder disfunction, thereby demanding various treatments and approaches to the problems. Your urologist can experiment with different medicines to see which if any can lessen your problems. Self catherization and botox injections into your bladder helps. Bladder issues can cause us great anxieties, frustrations and embarrassments, however things can be done to lessen these issues. Lessening your fluid intake and periodically going to the bathroom before the urge presents itself. We need to acknowledge that we do have MS and have to adapt our lifesyle accordingly. I hope this helps. For further information you can get useful answers from experienced people with MS at Funnythingaboutms.com.

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  4. I have this same problem! I just don't drink anything before a long trip or leaving the house for a period of time. It really sucks! >:~((((!

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    1. Shannie,
      Yeah, I think not only meds help but certain behavioral changes hep too.

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  5. That problem comes and goes for me. I am ok right now not needing a bladder pad. I am in the process of buying a van with a lift so then I can use my hover-round during times of alot of walking. My leg gave out and broke two bones in foot. I am scared now to walk. It's always something, and trying to live normal is hard work. Hugs Nicole.

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    1. That's of my biggest concerns.... braking a bone that is. Yes trying to live my old normal is quite tricky. Like I've said normal is forever changing though.

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    2. wow, never heard of breaking something! I actually use a walker more than I used to, my husband can put my electric scooter ibn the car, depending whbere are goinn. Good luck!

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  6. do not see any replies from men! is it a lesser issue for them?

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  7. I am a male who has had urinary challenges for almost 30 years. I use to check out the restroom locations everywhere I went. Even after I started using a manual wheelchair I was attempting to control my bladder issues by rushing to the restroom before any leakage accrued. When that solution was no longer effective I started to use a Condom Catheter, which is just as it sounds. My urine would collect to the bag strapped to my leg. When repeated UTI's further damaged my urinary system. I needed to use a Foley Catheter which directs urine straight from my bladder to a bad on my leg. I was very resistant to this final change but after 13 years with a Foley Catheter it is the best solution for me. This is my new normal...

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  9. Nicole~
    I have never told anyone this. It is so embarrassing but it is a wonderful tip and I just needed the reason to tell the world! It really helps on long trips where we can't make it to the restroom quickly!!! Inside your disposable underwear (I HATE using the term Adult Diapers or Pull Ups)simply place a Poise or other incontinence pad and remove it when you make it to the bathroom. Very rarely does the entire Disposable outerwear need to be changed!
    Linda

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  10. My husband is paralyzed and uses a condom catheter and we have to straight cath him 3 to 4 times a day. We used to only straight cath him before his shower...but when we were finally introduced to a Nuero-Urologist at the Mayo Clinic, he told us to do it 3 to 4 times per day to keep the interior lining of his bladder from breaking down...we are (and will always) live like the cure is just around the corner. He still has to wear disposable briefs when he gets up because the condoms have a nasty habit of coming off... I do leave the condom off sometimes while he is in bed and I cut an adult diaper in half and tuck it under him in case of leaks (they are more absorbent than chucks. We have found that wearing the condoms too long create skin issues...latex or not

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  11. My travel solution: booster pads inside adult diapers. Works great for me -- I can whisk off the booster pad, replace it with a fresh one, and I'm on my way. Sure beats taking off your pants (and shoes) to charge an adult diaper in a public restroom or, worse, the tiny fake bathroom on a plane. Feels liberating to just keep moving. I have to order the booster pads online. Depends no longer makes Boosts, but I found Attends booster pads (although when I'm. travelling I use two of them, for extra protection). It's a great feeling to say, take that, MS, you're not stopping me today! As with most things in life, humor helps. When I pull on my peach-colored Depends, I say, hey, sexy! Yes, indeedy, incontinence sucks, but life is good. Rock on, bladder-challenged MS-ers!

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  12. I'm 65 and have dealt with urinary spasticity for years. I use posse pads and if i leak, i realize the sun will still come up tomorrow. My biggest help is in controlling anxiety so my neurologist put me on zoloft and what a difference that makes. Meanwhile at night is when i need to get up several times. If i'm struggling to reach the bathroom,, my husband bought me a porto potty that we keep for emergencies in the bedroom. lessening my coffee to just one cup really makes a difference.I always stop to go even if i don't have urgency. By pushing down on your bladder with your hand you can squeeze out even more. I tried the pills but one gets terrible dry mouth. & bad breath. Just remember it comes and goes. good luck.

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  13. This is Not a problem of only you, but thousands of people are suffering from this condition. Traveling is not an option and they even feel embarrass in going in public due to their problem. Though there are options and products like adult plastic pants and other incontinence products that can be used in the situations.

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