Becoming incontinent happened quickly after my total prostatectomy. At my post-op meeting, the surgeon said I might experience some incontinence and need to wear diapers. (Those were his words: diapers.) That was an understatement. I experienced incontinence every day, all day. This would all eventually lead to self-isolation because of incontinence. A friend suggested that I try physical therapy.
My therapist said, “You should have come to us before your surgery. You would have learned better control. Too bad your surgeon didn’t tell you.” Six weeks of bio-feedback and therapy helped. I learned Kegel muscle exercises and continue them as part of my regular physical training today. But I still used absorbents.
In the drugstore, I couldn’t pass the aisle without picking up an extra package of “male guards.” (Those are absorbents, folks!) Carrying extra absorbent pads was routine. I avoided many events knowing that leakage could become a major interruption. My wife began traveling to family events without me. I didn’t witness our daughter’s hooding at Western Oregon University for her Master’s. I could sit home and leak.
Self-Isolation after Incontinence
I stopped going to several of my professional meetings because of my “problem.” Either I carry a briefcase of absorbents and sit near the restroom or stop attending meetings. How about a social party at someone’s home? Where do I dump my absorbents? Four fully packed absorbents can fill a small bathroom wastebasket. If I can hide it in my pocket and make it to the kitchen garbage can… Therefore I chose to stay home and fill our own garbage can.
We stopped attending movies. A two hour movie meant three or four trips to the restroom (more if it was a comedy) and cargo pants pockets full of fresh absorbents as needed. Hold the iced drinks.
A wide-screen TV and subscription to Netflix solved the problem. I can hit the pause button as often as I need. Pass the popcorn.