No, friends, this time it's *me* I'm talking about. Those of you with MS know that the need to urinate, FREQUENTLY, is part of the rip-roarin' good times associated with the disease. I hadn't entirely realized how much my incessant need to void my bladder affected my life until my husband and I began planning a vacation to Italy. 'Round these parts, I can take a quick trip to the grocery store or the mall, no problem. They always have bathrooms. On a road trip, McDonald's are ubiquitous, so there's little chance I can go very far without finding a bathroom and, pre-Swank-diet days, a greasy 6-pack of chicken nuggets and a chocolate shake. (Don't judge; it's impolite.)
|Oh, this gross bathroom is a sight for sore eyes if you are desperate!|
If I'm lucky on these proper outings, I can duck into a shop that happens to have a bathroom, although these shops are rare. More often, I'll trot into a sandwich or coffee shop and buy a drink (makes no sense, I know, but by this point I'm thirsty as all get out), and then saunter to the bathroom. If I've bought something, I don't feel bad about using the bathroom. However, actual sit-down restaurants that have signs such as "BATHROOMS FOR CUSTOMERS ONLY!!!" totally intimidate me and, in spite of my husband's patient urging, I cannot slink into a restaurant and try to scuttle past the hostess stand to the bathroom (which is always in the farthest reaches of the restaurant). I am in constant fear of a blaring confrontation: "HEY, YOU! [all patrons turn simultaneously]. Where do you think you're going?? Didn't you see the SIGN??" The mere idea has kept me standing on a sidewalk in front of a restaurant whining while my husband tries to persuade me that there's little chance of this shouting business actually happening.
And now I'm faced with a whole new challenge. Trying to find public bathrooms in Italy. I know they exist. I've used them, I'm sure, but that was years ago, before MS made every outing a question of "where's the nearest bathroom?" I've already memorized how to say, "Where's the bathroom, please?" in Italian. (My husband memorized how to order a beer, by the way.) But what to do, say, when we're browsing around shops or seeing sights? In no way am I suggesting Italy isn't fully equipped to deal with having-to-pee tourists (let's face it, lots of old people are tourists), but still I'm a bit apprehensive. I believe there are medications one can take to inhibit the need to urinate QUITE as often. I'd be interested in anyone's experience with such drugs, if you don't mind sharing. I'll even make a confession, which I hope will propel some of you to suggest some good drugs, and lots of them, STAT: I've actually wondered if I need to bring, er, incontinence pads or something.
Payback. This is some kind of karmic payback for all the times as a wee lass I chortled with friends at adult diaper commercials, or the many times I snorted with laughter watching the Saturday Night Live "Oops, I Crapped My Pants!" faux-mercial (you have to scroll down a bit to the video on the page).
For the love of God, someone please tell me there's a better way!