Now I am bold when it comes to my health story. This attitude is new to me because I have not always felt this way. At first I was horrified, then very embarrassed by my diagnosis of neurogeneic bladder.
After trying to learn more about this difficult condition, I felt frustrated because I could not find the information I needed on how to live a normal life. I started this bolg as Trudy Triumph because was ashamed of my broken bladder and bowel and I needed a friend to talk to.
I found you.
Much later after I decided to write the book, Beyond Embarrassment, my editor asked me to write about the hardest day ever.
This first sentence of the first paragraph of the book, was my horrible day story, because I did not want anyone to know my medical secret. I was ashamed.
And if you work at a school, you understand it is a bit like working in a fish bowl..
From the book, Beyond Embarrassment:
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities – Brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems .” —John Gardner
That Monday, I came to work full of trepidation. I had become exasperated over the weekend as I fumbled and said words that I should not have said, all because I had spent long hours in my home bathroom learning to use a woman’s intermittent catheter. I cried several times out of the sheer frustration. My new toileting routine took so long. I felt like I had been given a life sentence to a porcelain throne. Today would be my first day to use a catheter at work. I had only minutes to find a private place and wash my hands; only then could I struggle to unwrap the lubricant, unwrap the catheter, and then finally find the small orifice on my body to insert it. Thinking about finding that spot on my body made me sweat, though the day was cold. Walking through the halls of the high school that day, I felt like a freak.
I chastised myself for drinking the extra cup of coffee at daybreak. There was little time to catch my breath let alone use the restroom, even on a good day. Worrying about how I would manage emptying my bladder within a fifteen-minute time frame was not what I wanted to think about as I started my day. Location was the key. I ruled out my initial idea of the nurse’s room, even though it had a larger area and a private sink. I worried about the long line of staff and students that might form while I took such a long time. What if someone got sick and needed the bathroom? No, I would use a quiet, private restroom upstairs. The door was usually locked, so it would be perfect.
At the start of my break, I sprinted up the stairs, and, at the top of the flight, I ran into a friend, just starting her break as well. The unending conversation continued. I wanted to lose her and take care of business. It was clear that the discourse was not going to stop, despite the fact that I gave her little encouragement. She followed me to the door and watched fascinated as I unlocked that coveted vacant restroom. I was stunned as she lightly said, “What a good idea to use this rest-room. I’ll go after you.” What could I say other than, “No, please, go first.” Disgraced, I slipped back into the classroom tardy.
What was your hardest day ever?