This is a tale about urinary incontinence.
Not long ago I had two girlfriends over for wine and conversation.
We shared stories, they demanded I let them look at some of my old photos, we emptied many (many) glasses of red wine, and stuffed our faces with my Butterscotch Bakes.
Somehow they got me to tell them the tale of when I had a vascular surgeon look at my hemorrhoids. *
*Yes, it is always this sexy when I hang out with my g-friends. WHAT UP!?
I can tell the whole story another time, but the short version is this: I had dropped my kids off at a friend’s house, ready for a consultation.
About an hour later I was on my side in the fetal position with a woman spreading my cheeks and a surgeon who simply sliced off a piece of my not-so-happy place without explaining in quite enough detail what was going to happen when he said “Do you want me to take care of this?”
Anyway, I was glad to have that little rectal hitchhiker gone (and, eventually, an amusing anecdote to share). But I really could have used a bit more information before the dude whipped out his blade. Such information as: “This pain will be so bad you will barely make it to Target for your prescription.” The entire time I was at the counter as the oh-so-helpful pharmacist explained in minute detail what he was handing me, I was mumbling “Just give me the f*cking drugs” but was too delirious with pain for him to understand me
As I told my tale, one of my girlfriends actually peed her pants while laughing (at me).
Served her right.
Okay, fine. It never actually took much for her to pee her pants.
At least, not since she had her kids.
Fast-forward to now. My friend had surgery to fix her ruined-by-two-pregnancies bladder. She was a little tired of pissing her pants each time she laughed, ran, jumped, sneezed, coughed or stomped her foot while yelling at her kids.
You should know that in order to fix this issue, surgeons need to get really close to Lady Parts. Really, really close.
A couple days post-op, the pain meds clearly not affecting her sarcasm, she sent me a ranting email apologizing (kind of) for laughing at my hemmy story, because she had a few tidbits to share after her own procedure.
I asked her if instead of aiming it towards me, could she please aim it at her surgeon? Kind of a Public** Service Announcement for those of you out there who sprinkle tinkle ever since the stork dumped a swaddled bag of Scream on your doorstep.
** Or should I say ‘Pubic’ Service Announcement? Hee hee hee…
So now I present to you, my friend’s Advice for her Lady Parts Surgeon, before he fixes anyone else’s peeing-in-public problem.
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I love my two boys and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world…even control of my own bladder. They really did a number on the muscle that is supposed to take care of that issue. So I went under the knife to fix it. Prior to becoming a mom I had a 15 year career preparing children and their parents for what to expect before, during and after medical interventions. So, I feel somewhat qualified on a professional level to provide constructive criticism for my Urologist on the information he chose to provide and what he left out leading up to my surgery. Here it is.
1. “You can watch your surgery on YouTube. You can pretty much see any surgery on YouTube.”
Ummmm…yeah. I don’t want to know what horrible crap you’re going to do to my undercarriage while I’m asleep. That’s kind of the point of being asleep. What you’re doing to me hurts and it’s scary as hell so let’s just make sure I’m knocked out and blissfully unaware. Just skip that TMI nugget in the future.
2. First pre-op visit – “You can’t lift more than 10 pounds for a month.”
Second pre-op visit – “You can’t lift anything over 20 pounds for a month.”
Day of surgery – “No strenuous activity for six weeks. No picking anything up over 10 pounds and if you drop some paper you should probably let someone else pick it up.”
What? Get your story straight. If this is done primarily for women who pee themselves after childbirth I am going to promise you this procedure would have a 99% fail rate if we couldn’t pick anything up. This should come with a full-time maid/nanny! I’m not a neat freak. Anyone I love enough to allow into my home without three days lead time knows that my children and husband leave their crap everywhere – like they’re marking their territory. Picking up is all I freaking do! So if you could actually have this emphatic discussion with my husband and kids that would be even better. Somehow man-cold and woman-surgery are supposed to have the same recovery time. Even though you say six weeks to me my kids don’t care and my husband thinks you’re just covering your ass from a law suit.
3. “You can shower on the third day after your surgery” …and?
This is where you say “oh…and we put some sticky crap down there that is going to feel like the esthetician you saw to wax your cooch left half of it there*. When you pick it off in the shower (OUCH Mother F’er!) you’ll find some hard bumps underneath. That is not ingrown hair, those are stitches…we stitched that sling in place next to your lady parts so don’t try to get it off / pop it / pull on it. By the way, we forgot to mention whether you should remove the sticky plastic stuff to begin with so I guess you’ll find that out later. Good luck!”
Here though is where I will thank you. You have jacked up my drug arsenal beyond my wildest dreams. Thirty Ambien! Five solid days of Vicadin! Plus, anti-nausea pills and antibiotics in the wake of what is a town wide pink-eye epidemic. You really outdid yourself! I’m thrilled! Also, thank you for wearing your contacts and looking so good the morning of my surgery. I did pick you mostly because you are very qualified and confident without being arrogant, but also because you’re hot and if a nurse couldn’t be in the room it might almost be exciting if we were not checking to see if I’m still peeing myself…unless you’re into that kind of thing.
So, I hope my open and honest critique of your communication has been helpful to you and to all the women who will seek your help in the future.
* A note for the ladies – if you decide to do this procedure – do yourself a favor a get a Brazilian wax job. I promise you – you’ll thank me.