Tuesday, 4 July 2017

I Can't Take Off My Underwear

Have you ever had to physically fight with something so much, struggle with it so hard, push or pull with so much might that you peed your pants in the process. This has become an almost daily occurrence for me, where I deal with something requiring so much out of me that my bladder lets go. These days, most often, it's getting my underwear off when I go to the toilet.

There are things in my progress which I define as situational losses, and others which I define as permanent losses. A situational loss is one where a given method of doing something fails me part of the time, or requires I change the situation and do something differently in order to accomplish the task at hand. Sitting up is one of these situational losses. I can still do it, if the situation is right. If not, then I cannot sit up. Picking up laundry is another; if I keep the laundry basket on top of another basket, I can slide it into my lap. I cannot pick it up off the floor unless I empty it about halfway. Then, once I have lifted the basket, I use my grabby stick to pick up that which I dropped.

All situational difficulties become permanent. This is ALS. Everything is lost, over time. Today it is my ability to take my underwear off while seated on the commode chair. When I get up, I use the sling to transfer to the commode chair. I then roll into the bathroom and over the toilet. At that point, up until the last few days, I slide my underwear off. Unfortunately my arm strength has diminished such that I can no longer do this without help. I am not strong enough to take off my underwear.

I tried it today. The last few days I have had to ask for help, either from David or Kathy. Today I was alone when I needed to use the toilet. So I tried it, with all my might, fight, and strength. I tried so hard I peed myself. Yet I could not get them off. Unless...

It is still within my ability to take my underwear off while laying down on my bed, using the side by side roll method. So, I used the sling to put me back on the bed, took my underwear off, and got back onto my commode chair sans boxers. I was able to go to the bathroom, and, with some major struggle, able to dress myself. I managed to finish the project without peeing myself again. So that's a plus. Not being able to take of my own underwear unless laying down is another loss. This is what it is like living with ALS. Situational to permanent. Ability to disability.


  1. Yup!!! As usual, you describe it so articulately!

  2. We live in a time where we can put a man on the moon, yet we can not cure the beast that is ALS. Sad commentary on our priorities.

  3. I say give up the underwear. My dad did and it changed his life dramatically. We washed his pants always after one wearing but the accidents were sure cut down.