Most of this week, like much of the world, I have been at war. The enemy once again decided to invade on Sunday but this time I was ready, or so I thought. I felt the twinge of a bladder spasm and my eyes rolled to the back of my head and I let out an exasperated sigh. But instead of crying over the oncoming urinary infection which I’ve come to know quite well, I saw it as an opportunity. An opportunity to stand up and fight for my health without the use of reinforcements, being antibiotics, and strengthen my immune system so that my defense unit will become known as one not to be taken so lightly.
It started off well. I sat home and drank as if I had been walking through the desert for months. Tall glasses of cranberry juice were inhaled and jugs of water disintegrated. I was doing an intermittent cath every one and a half to two hours. My bladder was always sure to let me know when it was time to empty out the war zone and start again. The next day my urine was looking cleaner and I was feeling better. The thought that I might actually be able to beat the bacteria without drugs seemed like a possibility, that is until a clever counterattack was mounted by the enemy, one which would lead me to a spiraling down fall. At first it was like any other moment in time. My bladder began to spasm signaling the time for another IC. Although uncomfortable I was taking my time preparing but once in the bathroom I looked down and realized a retreat had already occurred. I had wet my pants.
With this new occurrence new strategies had to be implemented. Not wanting to wet my pants all the time I had to try and do an IC before the leaking occurred. It was not easy however and things were becoming difficult. So the next day I attached an indwelling catheter, also known as a Foley catheter so that my bladder would constantly be empty and I could drink as much as I wanted. It really did seem like a good plan at the time but several hours later my condition was slowly worsening. Flulike symptoms began to develop, aches, chills, and lack of appetite. I woke up the next morning feeling bad, worse than I’ve ever felt since my injury. I needed reinforcements.
I called the urologist several times in the morning. To my great relief I got a call from the nurse in the afternoon and set up an appointment to go in at three. They listened to my symptoms, took my temperature, took a sample and gave me antibiotics. Less than a day later I was feeling immensely better. I had lost the war. Not even sure if I won any battles. This vicious cycle of urinary infections continues to plague me. I do believe I know of a possible cause for this most recent infection however.
Last Friday night I went out on the town with some friends. It had been expected for several days that I was to go out on this night and would be making my appearance known in downtown Charlotte. For awhile now the idea of going to the bars of downtown was rather intimidating for me. Mostly for the reason that I knew I’d be running into old friends and people whom I knew in my past life. The possibility of running into somebody I know should not be seen as a bad thing whatsoever but since my injury these occurrences of always bothered me. I am never really sure how people are going to react to seeing me and if I’ll be able to make them feel comfortable in my presence. For the most part I learned that if I’m comfortable than they are comfortable but I still tend to anticipate whether or not this domino effect will take place.
So Friday evening I was getting to know my good friend nervousness as I awaited the arrival of my friends. I had set in place a device known as the foley catheter, which is without going into much detail, an apparatus which allows me to drink as much as I want and stay out for as long as I want. Being that I had recently been acquainted to the foley catheter was one of the main reasons why I had decided to head downtown and hang out with the young people of Charlotte. I’ve never really wanted to use the device but it is quite amazing the level of independence it gives me.
We arrived at a popular chilled out bar and I promptly realized that I didn’t have my license on me. We scrounged through my wallet, discovered by Medicaid card and my college ID which properly identified my age. Once inside the place I felt almost completely unnerved. In fact I felt a very profound sense of confidence within me. It was a great feeling to once again be immersed within my demographic and doing what people my age love to do.
It was not long before I began to run into people I know and not once was it awkward or uncomfortable. Everyone seemed to be just super glad to see me and they all had encouraging and thoughtful things to say. Maybe it was the fact that alcohol was being consumed but I didn’t feel much intimidation from anyone even from the people I didn’t know. At some points I can almost say that it was if the chair wasn’t even there. I was also quite surprised at the amounts of smiles I was getting from the female side of the spectrum. By the end of the night I had no numbers, I actually had gotten semi rejected, but I still left with more confidence in myself than when I had arrived.
The night did not end gracefully however for the first three hours I slept that night, the foley malfunction and I ended up getting a large volume in my bladder which I suspect gave me the urinary infection. I thought I was onto something. Every once in a while I could go out and have a good time and also my bladder to get a break from pressure which is supposedly the main cause of urinary infections. Well, I thought the foley was my friend but it stabbed me in the back.
I had a great time going out and doing what kids my age do but it is frustrating when I think about it because going to the bars is practically the only way there is to meet people my age. While out I kept thinking to myself that I needed to do it more often. I was rekindling old friendships, making new ones, and being put in a wonderful situation where girls actually want you to talk to them. Yet it left me with a hangover and a urinary infection.
Everything in my life is a balance. If anything is done without balance chaos occurs. Right now I believe the most important for me is to stay healthy so I can go into these rehab programs and work towards my goal of gaining physical function. If I can gain physical function, many of my problems will slowly disappear.