Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Going Pee

Be forewarned. This blog entry deals with the subject as noted. If you are uncomfortable with this basic biological process or graphic descriptions of the human anatomy, this may not be the post that you want to read. On the other hand, if a good effort at emiction just makes your day, then read on!

When I was about 8 or 10 years old, I read one of those more than witty little ditties written on a bathroom wall. This bit of grafittic doggerel stuck with me over the years. It went "No matter how much you shake and you dance, the last 10 drops always go down your pants". I as small boy whose valves, flaps and muscles all worked supremely well, if not my aim, I didn't see the point. I just remembered the rhyme.

As I got older and valves began to lose that ability to slap firmly closed, I began to see what the poet intended. It may not be 10 drops but over the years stragglers have been the bain of many a man at the urinal, including me. Still, a bit of tissue and all was resolved. Then I got ALS.

You might wonder how ALS affects my ability to go pee. Well, it does, in more ways that you might consider until you get to this place. First of all, there is the whole "standing up" issue. Men's anatomies are designed for vertical targeting and delivery. They are meant to take full advantage of gravity when engaged in voiding. It's just the way of maximal expulsion. Then there is the loss of muscle strength in my stomach, leaving me largely dependent on that gravitational pull for completion of said process; the muscles are still partially functional, so some eviction enforcement remains possible.

Think of the male process. You unzip, extract, aim, release, repack, and zip up. It all just works. It also means that other components are out of the way, extant from the process, swinging free from potential contamination or remaining packed and protected from potential splashback. Now think about how that process might be impacted while seated where all the right stuff is shoved together and nothing swings freely.

So I sit to go pee, with a body designed for standing. So what? If all else worked well, that is about right. Unfortunately when I sit, I don't sit like most people. What many of you don't realize is that when you sit on the commode, your legs are still actively involved in the ablutions. Those muscles are helping with position, lift and spread as needed. Mine do none of that. Furthermore, the seated position for the male components of the process mean additional twists and bends along the exit canal, thus slowing and even stopping the process sometimes.

I can make the effort seated from my wheelchair; consider how that might work. At least it saves a transfer from wheelchair to toilet, the arduous task for removing pants and underwear, and then reversing it all when complete, or quasi-complete as is usually the case. But it means the whole "unpack, aim, release, repack" process is more complicated and more likely to evince some level of moistened failure. For you men out there, you can test this approach by taking a low chair into the bathroom and seeing how it all works out.

Finally there are my stomach muscles, those weakening walls that can no longer guarantee completion of the required actions; I lack pressure when I need it the most. So I go from being a sharpshooter to a leaky valved faucet. Along the way, other bits and pieces get in the way. So all in all, it becomes a messy business.

This whole mess is just another of the humiliations heaped on me by ALS, another ancillary benefit of this disease, another 10 drops. All I can say is, "What next?"

1 comment:

  1. My dear Richard, we have no idea of the difficulties involved with ALS. Keep us informed as we need to know.
    love you