We’ve been aware that Linda seems to be thirsty, drinking plenty of liquids and also goes to the toilet frequently… so much so that we asked the GP to check her out for diabetes. That’s a quick dipstick test in a sample of urine – tricky to get the urine, simple to do the test! Fortunately she doesn’t have diabetes but it left us wondering why is she going to the toilet so often?
Recently, Linda has had more difficulties, not just in frequency of visits but in getting to the toilet on time. It’s really tricky when someone has a learning disability – how much are they just being lazy/distracted/just not going when they should and how much is a real “can’t keep it in” problem?
We tried being encouraging, supportive and propmting frequent visits but still didn’t know if it was a problem we could do something about so we decided to seek support from a Specialist Incontinence Nurse.
It was great to work with someone who really saw this problem for what it was…. at one and the same time, a slight encumberance and a huge inconvenience. I suspect that for Linda there was also an element of severe embarassment – after all, which of us would choose to let the world know we had bladder weakness issues – and when you carry spare clothing everywhere, that’s difficult to disguise. However, it wasn’t in the least bit embarrassing discussing this with the nurse who was just delightful!
We talked through the symptoms – going to the toilet frequently and always in a desperate rush – before we were sent away for a period of monitoring and measuring. There were two specific questions to try to answer: how often and how much?
The first is by far the easier question though it did require some organisation to always have the notepad to hand, in and out of the house. Apparently it’s normal or typical to go to the toilet between 4 and 8 times a day – Linda was paying at least 12 visits… The principle of urinary frequency is established beyond doubt!
The second question of how much urine was passed each time was altogether more challenging to assess.
After many days deliberating, exploring toilet training aids, looking at every household receptacle to see if it could be used in a different way, we finally went to the Disabled Living shop. Having explained that we didn’t want to buy a commode we were presented with a ‘slipunda’, a discrete, plastic version of a bedpan! We’ve since discovered that you can buy these amazing devices very discretely on Amazon – UK…
or Amazon – USA…
I’d highly recommend them!
What’s particularly useful about this device was the plastic rim of the slipunda allowed it to fit neatly under our toilet seat so that it could be used during normal toileting and contain the urine to be measured more accurately in a plastic jug later. Practical, with the least amount of intrusion, disruption or embarassment. Job done!
It would seem that the volumes are normal, tests reveal normal chemistry so we now have to deal with the problems of freuqncy and urgency… and yes, there is a potential treatment – Vesicare.
We’re now waiting to see if Linda’s irritated bladder will respond to the first line medication recommended. A period of 12 weeks further monitoring, but thankfully no more measuring, is now in progress!