Saturday, August 5, 2017


      I first heard about Kegel exercises on television.    
     “I’m doing it,” Oprah said impishly, gazing at her audience.
     I Googled the term and learned that Kegel exercises are helpful when you have to pee every 15 minutes after surgery and catheterization or any other time you find you’re losing bladder control.  It works, but it takes weeks to get there. For me, the control wasn't complete because urination wasn't complete.  Inevitably, a compartment, as I called it, would retain a portion that soon required another trip to the loo.
     Following my knee replacement in 2010, I had an altercation with the night nurse at Mass General.  She scolded that I couldn’t possibly need the bedpan again so soon, she’d brought it only 15 minutes ago. I responded heatedly that I did too need it.  The disagreement escalated until I was loudly defending my claim and she was shushing me because patients were trying to sleep.  
       I insisted there was urine in a compartment of my bladder.
       "Bladders don't have compartments!" she said scornfully. 
       "Never mind," I said in desperation, “I’ll get up and walk to the bathroom.”
       “Has your doctor cleared you to do that?” she hissed. “You’ve just had surgery on your knee!”
       “Okay, I’ll wet the bed,” I said.  Which I did.
       When the ambulance arrived in the morning to transport me to Clark House in Westwood, no one in the nurses' station moved a muscle on their bodies or their faces to say goodbye and good luck. 
       Was it something I said?  
July 10, 2015
     I have often relived this incident and come up with a more satisfactory ending.  When the nurse was hissing at me, I should have reached under the covers, collected a handful of urine, and splashed it on her uniform.  Not in her face.  I'm not that vindictive, even in my fantasies.        

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