This is our first blog from Jacqs, a fantastic patient advocate and talented narrator, who found herself experiencing complicated bladder issues when she least expected them. We look forward to more from her in the future and thank-you for sharing...
BC — Before Catheters I was just like anyone else. Taking being continent for granted. I was an accountant. Then I was a mother. But as they grew up, I became in a full time secondary maths teacher. … I thought that the very idea of continence was for those in wheelchairs and the very old. I remember MY OWN very thoughts with my grandma. With little or no thought to how. She felt … it just seemed humiliating … for me! Smelly … for me! And downright uncomfortable it was ... for me! … The mere sight of a urine bag in any hospital made me feel queasy, but what must it have been like for HER? Well now I am closer to finding out. … I hate to admit it I was needle phobic too. The mere whiff of antiseptic and I was flat on the floor. ... Fate dealt its hand. It all started in 2009. After months of indecision and misdiagnosis I ended up having emergency surgery to relieve an obstructed ureter. After two failed re-implantations of bladder to remaining ureter. Many stents. Continuous indwelling catheters, and nephrostomies led to near continuous uti and inevitably urosepsis. I called a halt when it was suggested undergo yet more surgery to move all the right side of me to all the left. That was an easy decision made even easier when I decided to donate my kidney altruistically. That part of the story is a great one. I have great pleasure in swapping letters with the dying man who received my kidney. He has made a brilliant recovery. We write to each other and plan to meet.
Swimming with a dodgy bladder
Have I mentioned the swimming? Well I started last year when my youngest, BFG was recovering from injury to his knee and me with spine injury. My running days are really over. So as I told my audience, open water swimming is highly recommended. My wet suit was so tight it was a work out in itself to squeeze on. Then the compression effect holds all the painful leg back and pelvis in one place. The water was so damn cold it is like an ice bath anaesthetic. Oh and no worries about that leaky bladder. In fact any leaks were quite warming and out in the open. It is actually wonderful relaxing and just so addictive...
In early 2016 I attended a local teacher research meeting. It was held at the University and many teachers and lecturers attended. Afterwards a very esteemed retired academic came up to me. Jacq ...well done on your BBC interview. Covered in confusion I mumbled my thanks. I had been interviewed about Continence to support the publication of Excellence In Continence Care by the NHS.
But she continued ... have you seen the squeezy app? Well, yes, I said, I had.
It’s marvellous she said to an ever growing audience around us.
She then got her phone out and encouraged everyone to ‘squeeze’.
My bladder world had finally clashed with my academic world. The teachers began to swap their bladder issues and the crowd grew.
As I tried to wander off, she called me back ... You know the best part? She lectured, I’ve taught my husband too. To my considerable embarrassment, she added, his bedroom performance has improved considerably. Actually those are not her words. I cannot here write what she actually said.