health · humor

it’s a condition.

If I were a superhero, my special power would be peeing. I’ve been in and out of the bathroom all day for as long as I can remember. When we buy a giant 36-roll block of Charmin at Target, Boyd says he hopes it will last the weekend.

Over the last couple of years, however, I’ve noticed an upsurge. I tracked it one day, and by bedtime I’d hit 25 trips to the bathroom. So two months ago, I finally took myself to a urologist. He viewed my parts and put in a catheter to check my bladder. Then he sat down cheerfully on his rolling stool and explained that frequent urination in women is “remarkably common.” He gave me a pill to fix me. I am big into pills that fix me. This seemed like the best possible outcome.

Two days later, my bladder caught fire and the world ended. It started with an ever-so-subtle tingle that I thought might be a UTI, and culminated in my vagina flying off my body. In addition to pain that I can only describe as a bath in molten lava, I constantly felt that I was bursting despite 50 trips a day to the bathroom.

Two weeks and four doctors later, I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis. The specialist in San Francisco was so knowledgeable and sympathetic that within ten seconds of meeting her, I burst into tears. She handed me a pamphlet.

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 6.18.36 PM

I had never been handed a pamphlet like this before. This was me now.

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She said that I’d probably had this condition for years (thus the constant peeing), and that the catheter at the first doctor’s office had triggered a flare.

And here is my treatment. Yes, all of these.

1. Valium
In the form of nightly vaginal suppositories. So, that happened.

Here is the label:

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 4.13.24 PM

Only one per vagina. They were all so disappointed.

The suppository itself looks alarmingly similar to my earplugs, which I use at bedtime too. I need to stay sharp.

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 6.21.30 PM

2. Pelvic Rehab
Did you know this was a thing? I certainly did not. And it’s a booming business. You can barely get in with them.

I’ve now had 5 of my 12 prescribed weekly sessions, which consist of Therapist Allison becoming extremely intimate with me for an hour in my bathing suit area. And yet, she still goes through the charade of leaving the room while I get undressed.

Allison has requested that I purchase one of these.

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 6.32.19 PM

I assure you unreservedly that this will never, ever happen.

3. Diet
I’ve had to forgo my beloved coffee and tea in favor of other drinks. Here is my current beverage menu:

  1. Water
  2. Hot water

I’ve had to eliminate most every food as well. The list is too long to include here, but suffice it to say that if it’s not a cucumber, I probably can’t eat it.

4. Acupuncture
Also weekly. I like it though. There’s a heating lamp and spa music, and Buddhist motivational  quotes in the bathroom.

 5. A Host of Other Shit
Chinese herbs, probiotics, hormones. Fistfuls.

All of these treatments add up to a part-time job, but 5 weeks in, I am feeling much better. Therapist Allison even says she can get me down to 6-8 pee trips a day, like forever. I am grateful that there are solutions, and that I found a doctor who knows what they are. If asked for my vote, however, I’d still opt for a pill to fix me.



5 thoughts on “it’s a condition.

  1. If I ever have a serious health concern, I’m going to call you so you can spin it back to me in a way that sounds this hilarious!

  2. This is so damn funny, Sam. I’m sorry, I know you were miserable, but you have a true gift for turning misery into comedy. That pamphlet is just too much. Whoever did the cover illustration is an utter sadist. The sprinkling shower of water?! PLEASE.

  3. If your Allison pelvic floor therapist is the same as my Allison pelvic floor therapist In Ocean NJ, she is wonderful and extremely knowledgeable. She makes my pain go away by fixing all those hypertonic pelvic floor muscles. You will get better! Hang in there.

    1. Thanks Cheryl, I appreciate your encouragement. It’s not the same Allison because I am in Oakland, CA, but I totally love her and agree that she’s definitely the reason I’m feeling better.

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