Thursday, July 7, 2011

I fail at peeing

If you follow this blog, you might remember my in depth discussion of my urinary woes, culminating in a torture session procedure designed to widen my urethra. (If you have a strong constitution, you can read about my experiences here and here.) The hope was that I had an easily (ha!) treatable problem rather than a horrible chronic bladder pain disease. Unfortunately, after further visits with two doctors, the results are in and I am indeed an Interstitial Cystitis* sufferer. If you are keeping track, this means that out of the four people in my immediate family, three of us have rare diseases/afflictions/syndromes (The Girl has a Chiari Malformation and The Boy has Tourette’s Syndrome Plus and is on the autism spectrum). I suspect that Husband should get out now before it’s too late. Except then he’d be leaving me with all this mess and I’d be pretty pissed about that, so I think he’s stuck. Maybe he should wear a surgical mask or something.

At my last urology appointment, I had the pleasure of peeing into a device that measures both urine output and force of flow. Apparently I am mildly retarded in the “force” department, falling one standard deviation below the mean (who knew that there was an average pee force rating?). But then the nurse used a sonogram-type of machine to measure how much urine remained in my bladder after I’m finished peeing. (I retroactively hate every nurse that has ever catheterized me for this same purpose. Bitches, all of you!) The doctor informed me that I retain 120ccs of urine (4 ounces) every time I finish going (that’s half a cup, which seems kind of crazy, right?). I asked him, “How much does a normal person retain?” The doctor replied, “Well, I just did this test on a 92-year-old man and he had 8ccs left.” The doctor seemed to find this very funny. He’s that kind of guy.

So, that’s it. I officially fail at peeing.

I’ve been urination-impaired for years. Long ago when I had a similar test (with a catheter, BITCH), the nurse actually said to me, “Did you finish peeing?” Dumbfounded by this question, I said, “You mean just now when you sent me in the bathroom to pee?” “Yes,” she said irritably. “Did you finish peeing?” Of course I answered “Yes,” but internally I was thinking, “When does anyone EVER not finish peeing on purpose? Who thinks, ‘Wow, I totally love this bathroom, let me make sure that I have to come back her in another ½ hour?’ WHO DOESN’T FINISH PEEING TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY? Did she think I did a bunch of Kegel exercises so I could stop mid-stream and save up some just so she’d feel useful with her instrument of torture catheter? Honestly.”

Whew. I feel better now.

Anyway, my treatment consists of pain medication (currently limited to OTC painkillers and prescription Pyridium, which makes my pee a lovely shade of orange while it apparently damages my production of red blood cells), physical therapy (which will hopefully help in the long run), and a very restricted diet (which I have now restricted even further as I attempt to isolate particular irritants). I’m planning on starting acupuncture soon, which I think automatically ups my “cool” quotient by 50 points. I suspect I may be gluten-intolerant or I have some wonky food problems** (the almond milk I bought to use while I go dairy-free seems to actually be something I can’t handle at all, how’s that for ridiculous?). Right now I’m eating all kinds of unfamiliar foods and I’m still in a lot of pain, but I’ve lost some weight so I guess the whole thing is working out well. Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell.

So far, it’s raining pretty hard on me and my family in 2011. My grandmother died, my mom’s dog died unexpectedly, I’ve been in pain, tired, and out-of-sorts since February, and my son has had his usual drama of tics and attention problems. And that’s just in the health department; that doesn’t count the car repairs and other stressors. But damn it, hand me an umbrella, and I’ll grit my teeth and laugh at the rain.

*What's Interstitial Cystitis? Click here for the Wikipedia entry.
**This reduces my cool points by a bunch, doesn’t it?


  1. You're awesome. Hope you're peeing normally again soon!

  2. Hang in there, Brenna! A lot of us enjoy your posts and we're sending you our best wishes for healing.

  3. Thank you, Melissa! I'm hanging! :)

  4. That was awesome. Now I'm wondering what my pee score is.

  5. Ahhhh, Jenny, I'm honored that you read this! Thanks so much! Head on over to a urologist to find out. You have to drink 16 oz of water an hour before and not pee in advance, which can be torture for an IC patient. Its so nice the way that tests and treatments for this disease tend to work hard to be extra painful.

  6. I had no idea you could fail at peeing. Nor did I know some people stop mid-pee. Who does that??
    I'm learning so much on the internet these days.

    Good luck to you. Hopefully they can figure something out to make you more comfortable.

  7. I spread joy and information everywhere I go. LOL!