Sunday, July 31, 2011

Did You Ever Laugh So Hard, You Peed?

Courtesy Google Images

My God, there really is a picture for everything.

Have you ever laughed so hard, you actually peed a little and had to go change your underwear? OK, ask me why I'm asking you this question. Two words: shy bladder.

When I was growing up, my mother used to be in agony for me because when we would go on long car trips, I could never make myself pee in the public restrooms. She would patiently take me in and I would sit and sit and sit with my painfully full bladder, wondering what the hell was wrong with me that I couldn't just let it out already. Well, turns out, there is actually a name for this:  Paruresis.  Nope. I'd never heard of it either.

Wikipedia (which we all know is an incredibly reliable source because anyone can edit it) defines paruresis as:

a type of phobia in which the sufferer is unable to urinate in the (real or imaginary) presence of others, such as in a public restroom. It most commonly affects males, though there are female sufferers too...
I had no idea!

Ummm.....what on earth brought me to this topic? Well, the fact that this condition never really goes away. This afternoon, I went in to use the half bath on the main level of our house. My oldest son was in the kitchen a few feet away, getting some lunch and paying absolutely no attention to me. I sat down on the "throne" and waited. And thought to myself, "Please don't fart."

Okay, sorry, but wouldn't you have been thinking the same thing? And, when I thought that to myself, I also had the thought that if I could just pee already, I wouldn't have to worry about anything less "socially acceptable" escaping while I was in the more public area of the house.

Seriously, where does this disorder come from? Have you ever wondered about the mechanics of urinating? Me either. I have no idea how that works. I only know that since having my hysterectomy, I have been less, shall we say, reticent about when and where the pee comes out. 

I have this awful habit of choking on my food when I eat it, leading me to wonder if I need swallowing lessons (Justin, shut UP!!!) And lately, when I cough, I pee. When I sneeze, I pee. When I laugh, I pee. I am constantly changing my underwear.

The only time I can't pee is when someone is standing outside the bathroom door and might hear me. What. The. Hell?

You would think that after I had my legs strapped to stirrups three times and baring my nether regions for all to see while giving birth, I would have no pride left anymore. But a girl needs to have a little pride. And, to me, peeing is private. Meaning, I probably should go upstairs if I want to pee, but those damned kids never come out of their rooms anyway, so for me to be in close proximity to one of my children and to need the bathroom just really never happens.

The last time I was at the emergency room, they gave me a buttload full of morphine. Well, it was through an IV, but it sure felt like a buttload. And then, with the IV and full of morphine, I realized. Oh my God. I need to pee. I told the nurse, who went to hand me a bed pan. There was absolutely no way I could pee into a bed pan, even if the emergency room was suddenly completely empty. Even less chance with Justin and the nurse in the room.

I begged her to let me go to the actual bathroom with the IV. She finally relented to my pleading and allowed me to go, but insisted that Justin be in the bathroom with me while I went. Something about my being on morphine and hospital liability...they obviously had no idea of my drug tolerance. We got to the bathroom, I sat down on the throne, Justin politely turned his back, and I waited. For whatever it is that is supposed to relax that allows you to pee. And we waited...and waited...and waited. Finally, in desperation (because I really needed to go), I begged Justin to step outside. I told him that it wasn't that I didn't want to go. It was because I couldn't with him in the room. He just looked at me like I was crazy, peeked out for the nurse, and stepped outside to allow me some privacy.

I don't know how this urinary letdown mechanism works, but I sure wish there was an on/off switch. If I ever need a surgery where I can't get out of bed, I will explode before they are able to even say the word catheter because I simply will not be able to use a bedpan.

These are the things I think about.



  1. OMG I have the same issue. If my friends were in the bathroom with me they'd turn on the water! LOL

  2. Marybeth, I am SO glad I'm not the only one. I always felt like a total freak. I remember on a band trip to Florida, we got off for a rest stop and I couldn't go. 23 hours to Florida and I didn't pee once. I must have been in agony! Turning on the water doesn't work. I wish I could find that on/off switch! LOL



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