Monday, October 19, 2020

Bladder Problems

If you go down the Depends isle at any grocery store or pharmacy you know you’re not alone, but people don’t like to talk about this. It’s embarrassing, I get it. I’ve always had a small bladder, but over the past couple of years it’s developed into a real problem. I have to go, a lot, and sometimes I can’t hold it and have an accident. Running became impossible without wearing a pad. I got into the habit of going to the bathroom frequently, “just in case”.

Last year I tried acupuncture and it actually helped, for awhile. But when we went to a Florida I stopped, and gradually the problem returned, worse than ever.

Then Covid happened and I wasn’t going anywhere for awhile. Eventually I went to the dentist, and then I had my yearly physical. I told my doc about my problems and we talked about possible solutions. I didn’t want to do the medication route if I could help it, so I decided to try pelvic floor physical therapy.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it? I was a little apprehensive, but decided I was a big girl and could handle it. As it turned out it was mostly talking and very little “hands on”. She checked my muscle strength down there and that was about it.

I don't have a prolapsed uterus, and I don't have "leakage", where a little urine comes out when you laugh or cough. I have bladder "urgency." I guess I knew that!

We came up with a plan. First of all I actually need to drink more! Sounds counterintuitive but people with bladder problems tend to not drink enough and their urine gets concentrated and that actually irritates the bladder and makes them need to pee more. That’s me for sure.

Secondly, I need to train my bladder, and my brain. I guessed that I generally pee about every hour and a half so my goal for this week is to wait 1 hour and 35 minutes before I pee. Then next week 1 hour and 40 and the week after that 1 hour and 45, eventually getting to 2 hours. Normal people pee every 2-4 hours, about 7 to 8 times a day. I’ve started trying this afternoon and it’s harder than it sounds. I think a lot of the time I’m peeing every hour, at least. She also gave me some techniques to be able to hold it longer, things like distracting myself or deep breathing.

I was able to do it this afternoon, but it’s actually sort of tiring. But if it works it will be worth it. I’m also supposed to do kegel exercises, although they aren’t the reason I’m having trouble, those muscles are actually in pretty good shape. It’s the muscles inside the bladder, which are involuntary, that are having issues. Which is why brute force doesn’t work.

Hopefully in a month or so I’ll have fewer instances of bladder panic. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be able to run without wearing a pad! Stay tuned.


I wrote this back in late September. I had my 3 week checkup with the pelvic floor PT person on October 14th. She says I’m doing well. She said I just need to keep doing the kegel exercises with more frequency and try to drink more water. Other than that I just need to be patient. It takes awhile to retrain your bladder!

As of today, October 19th, I'm up to holding it for an hour and 55 minutes. I'm almost to 2 hours! Some days its difficult and some days it is surprisingly easy. Its really surprising how much staying calm when I need to go helps. Walking to the bathroom slowly and deliberately when You REALLY NEED TO PEE isn't easy, but it works. The more I have to go, the more calm, slow and thoughtful I get. Its sure beats running in a panic cause that doesn't work at all.

The training I do during the day is supposed to eventually help me not have to go as much at night either. Its normal for older people to get up to pee once or twice a night, but I usually have to get up three times, and sometimes four. Every once in awhile during this training I'll have a night where I only have to get up twice, but then the next night I'm back to three. Oh well! 

Sorry, I've got to end this now. Its time for me to walk slowly and calmly to the bathroom, and PEE!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Coronavirus Diaries - September


Did I really think back in March that we would still be in the thick of Covid-19 in September? Its hard to remember, but here we are.

I could split September into several posts, I guess, but I'm not going to. Just one big post with several events.

Here we go!

September 3rd

On Tuesday we took Leo to Zumbrota to play with his cousins. (2nd cousins? Third cousins? Cousins once removed?? Don’t ask me! Lee’s sister’s grandkids, whatever they are!) We had to do it before they all went back to school because who knows what kind of exposure they will have once they are in a classroom.

It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to drive down there. Leo was very good in the car, only getting restless for the last 20 minutes or so. They have a very long driveway to get to their house. We told Leo that we were on the farm once we started up their driveway, but he misunderstood. He thought the driveway WAS the farm! We’ll have to clear up this misconception later.

Cathy, Kate and all the kids were already there when we got there. Two 8 year olds - Ada and Henry, 2 4 year olds - Owen and Arlo, one 2 year old - Grace, and baby Jack who was born the day before Kirby. 

Leo had an acute attack of shyness when we walked in the door. So many kids! He didn’t remember them since the last time he had seen them was when we made Lep cookies before Christmas. He sat in grampa’s lap for awhile, but eventually ventured into the playroom. They had built a blanket fort in there which he found a little scary at first, but after one more retreat to Lee’s lap he was off and running. 

They played with toys. They went outside and jumped on the trampoline. Why didn’t I take pictures? I was having a great time talking to Cathy and Kate, and I guess I just forgot. I did take a short video of them on the trampoline. Leo had never been on one before. It was pretty funny.

We had pizza for lunch. Leo sat with the big kids and refused the high chair, even though the table came up to about his nose in a regular chair. He ate two pieces of pizza and a few veggies and a lot of grapes.

After lunch they went out to play on the big rock pile. Henry was very careful to make sure Leo was safe. Leo found a garden spade and it became his “shovel”.  That might have been the highlight of his day. When we were reminiscing about the farm yesterday I said, “and you climbed on the rock pile...” and he said “I found a shovel!” So you did funny boy.

He fell asleep in the car on the way home of course. I wish we could do this more often but with school, and Covid, I’m afraid it won’t be safe for a long time. That’s the trouble with saying, “oh I’m not scared. I’m willing to take that risk.” The thing is, you’re not just taking a risk for yourself, you’re taking it for everyone you might come in contact with after you’ve been exposed. 

One other thing. I’m going to start spending an hour here and there with Kirby. I went to visit him on Monday morning. He’s getting to be so much fun. He was very into sticking out his tongue so we did that for awhile. We did tummy time, which currently involves a lot of airplane-like moves. We walked around the house and looked out the windows and had a short conversation. It was nice and I plan to do it again sometime soon.

Sept 5

I’m learning to crochet. I needed some sort of project. Nobody is having their first baby (that I know of!) any time soon, so no baby quilts are in the offing. I was searching around online and came across something called Annie’s Kit Clubs. Its basically a fiber craft subscription service. There are a few different options but I chose the Block Afghan Sampler. They send you 3 blocks to crochet every 4 weeks or so, and in the end you join them together and end up with an afghan. They were pretty, and they send you instructions plus videos, so how hard could it be?

The first three blocks came at the beginning of this month. I’m not sure if I have ever really crocheted or not. I’ve done plenty of knitting, but I think in the past I shied away from crochet because it was so hard to find left handed instructions. But with the interweb I was in luck.

Only trouble was, at first I couldn’t find the videos online that came with my membership. In my impatience I searched for other instructions online and I thought I was good to go. But no. My first attempt was too tight and the gauge was way off so I ripped it out about halfway through and started again. I completed the first block but it just didn’t look right, at all. What had I done wrong? FINALLY I found the video and started watching the left handed one. OH! I had done the entire block wrong! I put it away, slept on it, and in the morning ripped it out and started again, this time following along in the video as I went. MUCH better! 

I’ve completed the first block and I’m halfway through the second. The first one is all single crochet and the second block is all double crochet, if you are a crochet person. The third block looks more complicated. I’m sure glad I found the video! Its like having my own personal instructor right there.

Sept 19

RBG died last night, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. I am heartsick. If Trump gets to pick her replacement we are screwed. Three Republican senators are saying they won’t vote to confirm her replacement, we need at least one more, preferably two, and for all of them to stick to their guns, but I have no confidence that they will.

I actually got on Zoom and watched part of the Erev Roshanah service at CRC, my mother's synagogue in St. Louis. It was nice, a mixture of prerecorded stuff, video from last year’s service, and some live broadcasts too. I didn’t watch the whole thing, and I didn’t watch the morning service because I was running and now I’m busy making a challah and getting ready for a New Year’s dinner with the Herbergs tonight, but maybe I will watch it later. I’d like to hear the shofar.

Sept 20th

So we had our Rosh Hashanah dinner last night. I made 2 challahs, noodle kugel, brisket. Sarah brought a fruit salad and asparagus. We lit the candles, said the blessings and ate. It was so yummy! I don’t understand why people are afraid to make a brisket. I’m not much of a cook but I’ve got this down. Sear it, add the veggies, wine and tomatoes, but it in a dutch oven, turn the oven to 325 and cook it for 3 to 4 hours, until you can stick a fork in it easily. I made it the day before, because it’s better if it’s sat in the fridge for a day. Then on Saturday I went for a run, made the challahs, set the table, made the the kugel. Took the brisket out of the fridge and had Lee slice it, then warmed it back up. 

It was chilly, but not too cold so I had an idea. Lee bought some wood and after dinner we made a fire in the fire pit and roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. One of Leo’s favorite shows is Fireman Sam, so having a real fire was very exciting! He understood that this was a safe fire so we didn’t need fireman Sam to come. He roasted his own marshmallows with a little assistance and happily ate a s’more. I had a s’more but ended up taking out the milk chocolate cause I’m not a fan, so I really had a marshmallow on a graham cracker. Not sure what I should call that!

We took the boat out of the water today. That truly seems like the end of summer. Also the hummingbirds are really gone for good and the pollinators are going crazy. And the leaves are turning too. Fall.

Sept 22

I have developed a shin splint in my right leg. It kind of came out of nowhere. It took me a few days to be sure what it was, but when I went for a run today there was no doubt, and it got worse as I ran. I was fine when I ran on Saturday, but sometime since then it started bothering me. They can turn into stress fractures so I’m not going to mess around. No more running until it feels better. NSAIDS, biofreeze, lots of stretching, warm up before exercising, consistent strength training. 

At least I don’t have any big races planned, just some personal goals for a virtual 5k or two. 

Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend has been cancelled. I feel so bad for my friend Paula, who was really looking forward to doing it again this year. But I think Disney made the right choice. I don’t see the point of a Disney race without character stops, and running through the parks. That’s what makes them special (and expensive). Without that why bother?

I wonder where this will all end, and just how long it’s going to take. Another year before a vaccine is widely available is my guess, and even then how effective will it be?

Sept 23

Continuing to think about the cancelled Disney races. I wasn’t planning on doing any of them this year, although I’ve harbored fantasies of doing the Dopey Challenge again after I turn 70, in 2023. But I’m still sad. In the great scheme of things running isn’t that important. It’s just a big part of my life, and I know there are so many people out there that were starting to do their training for the Dopey Challenge, wondering if they really could do the 4 races in 4 days. So it’s just sad. I’ve just been a little down I guess....there’s so many things we can’t, or won’t do, until we’re sure that it’s safe. Lee says he doesn’t miss going out; I do. I miss going to concerts. I want to take Leo out for activities, to a museum, to a kid’s concert or show, heck to the grocery store! Well actually we’ve been thinking that we could take him to a grocery store if he wears his mask. But we'd have to get his parent’s ok. Note: we have started to take him into stores occasionally. 

I know part of the wearing down is not knowing just how long this will go on. How long until a vaccine is generally available? How effective will it be? How long until the general case load gets to an acceptable level? How long until the US government starts to really take Covid seriously and uses science to help keep us safe? 

And really, with our expanded bubble we are really really lucky, and I know that. We are financially secure, in good health, not very isolated at all. But still sometimes its hard. It just is.


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