It’s 3am, Part Deux


Just not one to lie abead, listening to my bones creaking and hoping to fall back asleep.

I come from a long line of nightowls, and learned early how to be stealthy so as not to disturb others when wide awake and restless.  When I lived at home, Mom and I would greet each other over the kitchen table for a game of scrabble or cards, and chat the night away upon occasion.  Intimate conversations where we’d fix the world if we had our druthers, or simply laugh and enjoy the company until it was a decent hour.

Other nights, I’d be out cold and wake to find she’d cooked dinner and desert for later that evening, had made donuts or bread, and now had a full breakfast ready to send me and my sister on our way.

I’m a big fan of breakfast, and it would be horrible if she got that urge to cook on a school day as I couldn’t eat, once I started going to high school.

I’ve had many repairs to my body, one of which involved tightening up my bladder to give me more than 2 seconds warning before it would be too late to matter once Nature called.

However, in High School, they felt it was reasonable and right to lock ALL bathrooms except those in the gym locker rooms, where the coaches hung out all day.  In a school of 2,000 kids (roughly 500 per grade).  Crazy.  You can get an idea of how large the school was with that many kids, and only 3 minutes between classes, and locked bathrooms EXCEPT way out in the fieldhouse, near the track.  Unless I had Gym (or was willing to skip lunch (a 20 minute free period), there was no time to use the facilities between 6am when I left the house,  and 2:30 / 3:00pm when I finally made it home.  (That scene in “Sybil” was particularly meaningful – where her mother told her to “hold her water” as a little girl tied to the piano, being tortured).

So, I learned to hold my water by not eating or drinking each day until lunch hour, at the earliest, because the school was adamant in its desire to not police the smokers in the bathrooms, and the teachers were adamant that you weren’t getting a hall pass and the bathroom key to skip their class.

As my body is breaking down as I’m getting older, though, I find I’m juggling common sense about keeping hydrated with the need to NOT be camped out in the bathroom hourly.  Either the meds I’m on won’t let me empty things completely (leaving me feeling always on the verge of disaster, and distracted by a need to go), or I am running to make the bathroom with very short notice in order to avoid peeing my pants.  It’s crazy, but I’m back to what I was going through in high school, trying to pass for normal but limiting my intake to avoid disaster.

At any rate, I tell you all that to tell you this… COPD and growing old aren’t for sissies.  I’m turning in my grownup card if it gets to the point where I have to rely on Depends.  Camping out in the bathroom for a couple of hours a day is a bit much, but compared to being in a diaper?  I’ll find a way to make it work.

And you?

Are you up at 3 am regularly, and what are you doing to fill your time until you can fall back asleep?

2 thoughts on “It’s 3am, Part Deux

  1. I have a sibling, that as a child had under-developed kidneys and a really small uretha (the tube that runs from the bladder to the opening where the urine comes out, which you probably already knew, didn’t you?) and he had trouble not peeing his pants. Even as a fourth grader. Add to that the fact that he had to wear those (in my opinion) items of torture – braces (full leg) on his legs. My mother had conversations with the teachers about if he said he needed to GO, he needed to go. No quibbling. But still. He had a lot of trouble with it and I’m sure was teased by school mates as well as his siblings (we were evil little children). Your post brought back these memories and the fact that now the situation is reversed (to an extent) for my sibling and I; I’m the one that can’t be far from a toilet at a moment’s notice and he, being male, can make do with a bush if it’s necessary. And I don’t know your aesthetics on the matter, but there’s a compromise situation/product between the full on diaper (Depends) and nothing at all – leading to potential embarrassment and the need to carry around fresh pants all the time….the ones I use are called “Poise” and they are a beefed up version of a panty liner. They come in a variety of sizes and ability to hold urine – from extra long over nighters (which are sort of bulky) to a discreet panty liner. They minimize any odor as well (a blessing) and have saved me from having to excuse myself from social occasions where i have the ill luck to cough or sneeze. A few drops isn’t so bad at our age, but it sounds like you’ve come to the “it’s more a deluge than a raindrop” portion of the journey (like me) I wear the overnighters usually. Can’t say I haven’t been caught short and the product failed .. it has, but for the most part no problems and I’m damn grateful to have them. There will come a point where Depends will become necessary as I become less and less able to walk and my bladder gets more and more flexible. And they’ve tried the surgery with me and it didn’t take. At least it’s not falling OUT (yet). You need to keep hydrated. I didn’t think so and I still consume too much cola for my health situation…but with diabetes I also consume at least 2-3 large (over 48 oz) glasses of water every single day. Sometimes more. I’ve found the benefit of all that liquid is astounding. It helps one feel so much better…and it is of note (to me) that if I drink a cola drink, I’ll have to pee more than if I drink the same amount of water. I can usually go a whole church ‘day’ (three hour block) without having to use the facilities if I stick to water. Only you know your own situation though, but I thought it might be comforting in an odd way to know you weren’t alone in your trials with the bathroom ‘police’… and discomfort.


  2. Thank you. I knew you had the challenge with laughter, but not with other times. It’s sure frustrating, I agree. Not using poise pads yet – I just use the feminine napkins (a little lie to myself about the purpose behind the pad).

    As for picking on your brother in leg braces – I’m so sorry to hear he suffers still. Just not fun for anyone, to feel their incontinence moving backward. As for the locked bathrooms – my mom wrote a letter to the editor of our small town newspaper after appealing to the school didn’t help, and still nothing was done.

    I’m back to doing kegels like mad to help keep liquids where they need to be (99% water as I’m down to maybe 4-5 mexican colas in a month, and mostly when I go out with friends for a meal, if they don’t have bottled water).

    Did pick up some jello today, so we’ll see how that does as an alternate drink.

    Absolutely appreciate knowing I’m not alone.


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