1 EAGLETON NOTES: Life With a Bag

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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Life With a Bag

No. It's nothing to do with human co-habitation. I've done that. Been there. Got a few tee-shirts. Which is odd because I've never worn a tee-shirt in my life.

No. This is a reference to a real bag. A receptacle for holding something: in this case, liquid. In this particular case one attached to my back into which a tube from my right kidney drains.

Why am I telling you this? “Too much information.” I hear you saying. Well I’m going to tell you anyway.

This train of thought started when I was listening to a chap on the radio or television bemoaning the fact that he had been told that his operation for prostate cancer might leave him semi-bladder-incontinent and that, at worst, he might have to wear a leg-bag. He railed against everything and everyone involved as if it were someone’s fault that he had the cancer that had got him into this situation and that, even if it were not, then it was someone’s fault that he might be left incapacitated after the operation. His life would be ruined. Never would he be able to live a proper life in that situation.

I suddenly realised that I had not one iota of sympathy for the man.

Firstly he might never have the problem. Secondly if he did then the alternative would be likely to be death.  Which would you choose?

Then I though just how many billions of people there are on this earth in a worse situation.

Then I narrowed it down to the millions worse off with conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, paraplegics, people in constant pain and so on ad infinitem. There are so many people, too, who have inconvenient complications because the NHS and medical science have managed to keep them alive when otherwise they would have died.

Many of those people really do have lives changed far beyond anything they can do to help themselves.

Being wholly or partially bladder incontinent is NOT one of those things. It is an inconvenience to be overcome and overcome it can be. I know because, in 1998, I was left bladder incontinent after my prostate removal.

The surgeon said how sorry he was that I had become a statistical 1 in 20. My response was that, as the alternative to taking the risk had been death, (there was no further treatment for prostate cancer 20 years ago) I was just glad to be alive to have the problem.

I did a lot of training and eventually got rid of the bag. Now I’m not much worse off than millions of ladies who have had children and dread sneezing! No one who met me would ever know the situation.

Returning to the bag on my back, hopefully tomorrow when I have another operation I will wake up with a stent, no kidney stone and no bag on my back.

In the meantime I have walked a mile in another man’s shoes and will have a greater appreciation of what he has experienced.

I will not, though, expect him to tell me how badly life has treated him.

36 comments:

  1. Coincidence ? Your blog topic fits in nicely with mine : where the local authority are asking patrons of their conveniences to hold off passing water for seven months !

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    1. Yes, Heron, I've popped over and caught up with your recent posts. They could, at least have provided a temporary privy with a bucket.

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  2. I applaud and admire your stoic attitude Graham. Thanks for telling us the truth instead of hiding it away. I hope that all goes well with regard to the next stage of your treatment.
    Best wishes,
    Neil
    (a.k.a. Yorkshire Pudding)

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    1. Thanks Neil. I know that it seems a rather strange post to write but I think too many people feel sorry for themselves when there are many, many people who really do have cause for a self-indulgent moan.

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  3. You have the right attitude. What really caught my eye is that you overcame the incontinence. That takes will power and you're a good example for many including the whiners.

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    1. Thanks Red. I do hope that if just one person realises what we can do to help ourselves my post will have been considered useful.

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  4. Graham you have more guts than me*. Good luck and I hope to hear all is well soon.
    * Realised you now have less guts than me but you know what I mean.

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    1. Thanks Adrian. I'm not quite gutless (yet!).

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  5. you have some insight into the life of a camel: carrying water on your back!
    i hope the next bit goes well for you

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    1. Thanks for the smile Kylie. So do I. I set off for the hospital in a couple of hours. Hopefully by this time tomorrow I'll be a changed man (but not too changed!).

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  6. Like you, I do not have much sympathy for people who whine instead of taking action (if possible) and who, consciously or not, shift responsibility for what goes wrong in their lives and with their health to others.
    I am very optimistic that you will be changed for the better this time tomorrow! (Not that YOU need changing for the better; I am just referring to your reply to kylie's comment.)

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    1. Meike our optimism was not strong enough on this occasion. The op wasn’t a success. I now have two (different purposes) bags! I’m still in hospital and not sure when I’m likely to get out. C’est la vie. At least I’ve got my phone and crosswords and a few books.

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  7. 5 plus years ago with the prostate removed and after radiotherapy and a few hormone drugs my other half is still with me. So without what could be described as a sex life we soldier on. As you say the alternative is a lot worse. Bon Courage!

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    1. Potty, my partner couldn’t cope with the effects of the operation and left a few years later. That was 17 years ago. A new chapter of life started and I’ve had a wonderful happy life for the last 12 years both in Eagleton and New Zealand. I do wish you and your other half well coping with the situation.

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  8. I've only just caught up with this courageous, positive post. I do hope that by now things have improved for you, Graham, and that by now you're bag- free. We're thinking of you.

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    1. Thanks Frances. I’m afraid things didn’t go to plan. However the consultant now has a new plan. I shall just go with the flow.

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  9. Like Frances's comment, just above, I've only just read your post and hope that all went well for you yesterday. Please let us have an update as soon as you feel well enough.

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    1. Thanks Cath. The op wasn’t successful and there’s a new plan. Meantime I’m sitting in a hospital doing crosswords and relaxing.

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  10. I love your positive attitude, Graham. You are to be commended. I hope all is well soon...and the bag can be tossed to the wind. Make sure the wind is blowing in your direction upon the tossing! :)

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    1. Lee, like you, I believe positivity is the only way to survive and be happy. That and not peeing into the wind.

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    2. I meant to type "isn't" blowing in your direction upon tossing!" lol But, I think you realised that. :)

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  11. I found a solution for the incontinence. Well, not a complete solution but a great help. Go to my blog at www.practical-parsimony.blogspot.com and search for incontinence. Or copy and paste this address for the post-- https://practical-parsimony.blogspot.com/2016/06/incontinence-tmi-to-help-you.html

    Yes, mine is TMI but I hope to help others. I came here from Kylie's blog Eclectica. You can go there and click on my blog listed on her blog roll and then search for "incontinence," This weekly cure is expensive but my insurance paid for it for a year. I need it again and cannot afford it. I am going to try to get a very strong tens unit now and see if that works. I am not back to the beginning, but I would like to pee on myself less...lol.

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    1. Thank you for the link to your post, Linda, and for the information it contained. I’m quite interested as to how it works ie on nerves or muscles. My problem arose from nerves and muscles being destroyed or damaged as a result of my 1998 prostatectomy. I have since trained the muscles so that I have to wear a pad but, so long as I don’t do anything to stressing, I can cope with one pad a day but sometimes change when I change my clothes anyway). I shall investigate further.

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    2. The needle is inserted in the nerve that runs from ankle to urethra. The muscle that closes the urethra is stimulated. I am quite sure my nerve is compromised and no long tightens the muscle. I can send you a link I did not put on my blog. I was hoping you would not mind me directing anyone to my blog.

      I spent $80/month on the nighttime, long,#6 (heaviest), Poise pads. Then, I was down to $20. Now, I am back up to $40. Did you know an implant can be placed in your hip to help control the bladder? Same for incontinence with bowels. I was surprised at the last.

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  12. Great post GB ... fingers crossed for your journey. I had a friend with a bag and a suprapubic catheter - we used to go nightclubbing with her wee bag in a shopping bag. She later had leg bags, fake bladders and finally a stoma. It opened my eyes to what is possible and how many people are affected but it is rarely talked about. Xx

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    1. Yes, Fiona, when I originally had a leg bag it stopped me doing very little except wear shorts.

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  13. You're setting a good example with your positive determination, Graham. ♥ There's usually not much we can do to change what already befell us; but often something we can do to affect the present and/or the future.

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  14. Prayers for Your good health and Everyone!
    Recent time spent in the ER has given me a new perspective on this ending section of life. You are a comforting inspiration to have a positive balanced attitude.

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    1. Thank you Maywyn. I'm sorry you've been in the ER recently. To me the positive approach is the only one which allows me to enjoy life at the same time as dealing with all that's going on.

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  15. Ahh, Graham, as always, you are an inspiration. I know sitting around in hospital playing the waiting game will not come easily for you. I also know you will come out of it all your usual cheerful, happy self.

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    1. Thanks Pauline. I came out of hospital today. Seven dry day means a lovely Aussie Shiraz this evening. Now that's positive.

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  16. You are a strong man to have put up with taxing medical conditions but still manage to be positive and getting on with your life. I hope the op went well.

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    1. Thanks Diane. Unfortunately after three procedures they are giving me a break for four weeks and, I think, going to have another go.

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  17. I hope you enjoyed the Shiraz, Graham, and you sound as if you deserve a break. Your positive attitude is a complete inspiration, thank you very much.

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    1. Jenny, I did indeed and wee cognac to finish off the evening.

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