Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Urodynamics Testing

That was horrible! Not painful, just wretched! For anyone curious to know what this entails, please allow me to fill you in. Not because I want to tell you about it, but because thanks to MS I have been stripped of all dignity. We discovered that MS really stands for modesty stealer.

So I go in, undress, put on one of those lovely hospital gowns that is 5 sizes too big, open in the back and covers NOTHING. I am then told to sit on this table/ chair combo thing. This thing is insane. It’s like an exam table that is sitting straight up with a U shaped seat on the bottom. Under this little seat is a bucket, and somewhere in the bucket is a sensor to track the speed of urine as it goes in. It’s like a radar gun… for your pee. I am told to pee in the bucket. The nurse leaves the room to give me some privacy, and says to go ahead and go.

I have always had a shy bladder. Prior to having my daughter I could not pee if you were standing on the other side of the bathroom door talking to me with the door shut and locked. I was never one of those girls to go the bathroom as a group because it is impossible to pee while trying to carry on a conversation with other people in the room. P.S. guys, this is why women go together so we can take care of business while talking about you. I am in this big open exam room trying for all I am worth to pee in this bucket while sitting on this table.

Five minutes goes by and the nurse comes back to see how I am doing. I tell her this is not working. My body is telling me I have to go, but there is a little voice inside of my head screaming that this is not a potty!! One of those things that was instilled in me as a child is that you are only supposed to go on a potty. This is why I don’t like camping. She leaves me alone again. For ten minutes this time. And I try, oh how I try. But again, nothing.

Nurse Lady comes back in, this time with a rolling cart and a tray full of tubes. She then proceeds to tell me she is going to drain my bladder (the dreaded catheter), and she will also be inserting another two catheters with electrodes on them that will measure my muscle movement down there. Number one goes straight into my bladder and YAY, I no longer have to go. Number two is put in my woo hoo. Number three, well that is where the number two usually comes out. I am beyond violated at this point.

Now the fun part starts. They pump Saline into the bladder to see how much it takes for me to tell them I need to go, then they add more to see how much it takes before I tell them I am about to pee myself and I simply cannot take anymore fluid. She then adds another ounce just for good measure! I hate this woman at this point.
She then tells me I need to go in the bucket. BUT, I am not to apply any pressure or squeeze my muscles. To just relax and let it out. She leaves the room again to give me some privacy. I don’t really get the need to privacy at this point I mean the woman could not violate me more if she tried. And of course, I cannot go. She leaves me in there for a good ten minutes before coming to check my progress. She reads the print out from the computer that is attached to all of my girly parts.

Now she tells me to apply pressure, use my muscles, do whatever I need to do to go this time. After another twenty minute internal battle with my body and my brain, I am finally able to go, but not all of the way. Nurse lady comes back, reads the print out, says to me “wow, you have great pelvic muscles”. Amazingly I had this same comment just a few days before from the doctor. And amazingly enough, this still does not make me feel any better about any of this! Oh, and BTW for anyone who has never had this testing, they use cold saline, and when you do finally get it flowing, it’s cold coming out! This is the weirdest feeling, as I have never in my life had cold pee coming out of my body.

Nurse Lady decides to once again drain me to see how much I am holding. We are finally done at this point. She removes all of the tubes, and sends me out into the hall to await my results. Results are: your bladder is just not working on it’s own and you have to rely heavily on your pelvic and abdominal muscles to get bladder function. WOW, really?!?!? I could have sworn I told you all of this before you made me get naked, stuck tubes in my sensitive places and made me pee in a bucket! Did we learn anything else from this study? Oh, yes, your bladder is not emptying when you do go…. Did I mention I hate Nurse Lady?

The follow up doc appointment was not so bad, he actually let me keep my clothes on this time. Much better than the first time we met when he had his hand in places it didn’t belong and was asking me to squeeze. Not so bad of course until he decided to tell me there is no medication for an underactive bladder such as mine, and that most likely the issue is caused by the lesions in my spinal cord, from the MS. And my only option at this point is to come back and meet with the evil Nurse Lady again and she will teach me how to do a catheter at home, by myself. No thanks doc!

Oh, but yes, this story gets even better. You see if you don’t do this catheter thing and drain your bladder you will develop bladder and urinary tract infections, and they will eat at your kidneys. And yes at that point you run the risk of kidney failure.

I had to weigh these options carefully, you see I figure I have two kidneys so if one goes I should still be okay for a while right? Of course I ultimately decided to not risk it and to come back and meet with Nurse Lady again, no matter how uncomfortable and disgusting it was.