Day 167: My Bladder (Trigger Warning)
That's a strange title for this posting, but it's exactly what I'm going to write about. I spent this weekend with my friends in Portland. We all went to the same high school and have known each other for 25 years. Their DD was born about 18 months after my first DS, putting her between my two boys in age. My older son and their DD are fast friends. Always have been, despite years of living far away from one another. In fact, we moved away from Portland when my son was just three. Nonetheless, whenever we get together, they pick up right where they left off. They're more like siblings than friends. Boy, some days they are REALLY more like siblings than friends!
The three of us worked together for about eight years back in my super crazy days. I know I often refer to myself as having been pretty wild back then. I feel the need to demonstrate the point, in order to explain how well they know me and how much they have lived through with me. Here's a sample of some of the trouble I got into back then:
- Lived in my car for several months.
- Had sex with a man in a graveyard, another man in a navy ship during the Rose Festival, and another one at a marker overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. Two of these men were strangers to me, one of them I married briefly but divorced after a fit of violence.
- Bought a pace car from the speedway and raced big muscle cars all over the hills around town.
- Spun my car out on one of the interstate bridges in a fit of anger, stopping inches from one of the support beams (didn't get hit or even a scratch on my car). It was three in the morning and there was no other traffic, luckily!
- Took boudoir portraits of a male friend in the middle of the night, when he came knocking on my window with a teddy bear and a camera.
Sorry I'm taking so long to get to the point about my bladder.
I am closer to one of the two of them (L). Her husband is not healthy or in a good state. He hasn't been for a long time. I still care for him, but we're not close any more. Over the years I have gotten closer to L. Many times she has told me she loves me. Pretty much every time I talk to her.
She has also teased me countless times about my "teacup bladder." Her teasing was never hurtful. She has always been understanding of my need to use the restroom every 60 to 90 minutes. She was with me once, in fact, when I passed out from the pain I experience when I try to hold my bladder for too long.
I have always had a painful bladder, since I was very young. I just can't hold it for as long as other people. My parents used to punish me for this; and sometimes I would end up wetting my pants or having to go in a can or bucket in order to keep them from finding out. There was an incident when I was little when a girl my age molested me. I have had snippets of memory of that incident come back in recent months. I always remembered her putting Bobbie pins inside me, but I have gained more memory.
I remembered not long ago where she put at least one of them: in my urethra. I don't remember if there was any blood. And, I'm not sure if this hurt me. It's possible the damage behind my bladder problem could have been caused by this incident. It's also possible the rape that happened around that time caused the damage.
<<warning for details you might want to skip over>>
I learned during my second pregnancy the cause of the problem with my bladder is scar tissue that constricts my urethra (a urethral stricture). My urethra is pinched off, so my bladder can't empty itself. It has to build up to being overly full in order to have enough force to push past the stricture. As a result, it is always painful for me to urinate. It feels like something in there cramps whenever I'm about to start. There is a painful pause that often causes me to double over. It's not unusual for me to be nauseous and sweat from the pain it produces.
I guess on the pain scale, urinating is often a level seven.
I have had quite a few bladder infections from not going when I need to. There have been times it has felt like my bladder might tear. I don't think that's actually possible. But, there were times when my parents would force me to hold it while driving that I would experience pain that felt like my guts were being ripped open. We would be traveling in a camper. I would lay on the bed above the cab of the truck and think of stories and songs to try to make the pain stop.
<</end of graphic details>>
My friend L didn't know about the history behind my bladder problem. She just knew I needed to go and she has always been very patient with me about it. But, she has teased me. She even has a song she sings about it.
I promise, this didn't/doesn't hurt my feelings. Her teasing was innocent and she didn't know what had happened to me. I never told her about the camping trips, the Bobbie pins, or the rape by the baby sitter.
That is until this weekend. I decided to tell her I am able to feel the love she expresses toward me. I wanted her to know this is changing inside me. She knows I'm in a healing process, so I thought she would enjoy hearing this. I actually thought she'd laugh at me as if to say, "you silly girl, I'm so glad you can feel it now." But, she was very touched by it and hugged me fiercely.
She asked me what brought it on, what caused me to be able to feel. I told her about the work I've been doing specifically related to feeling my emotions and learning to grieve. I said there was more to my story than I had shared before. I had a question for her, in fact, related to the subject. We were heading out together so I waited to ask her until we were on the road. I asked her if she had ever known me to cry, emotionally. I thought maybe I had but didn't remember it. She said no, the only time she knew me to release tears was from pain. Then she mentioned seeing me pass out from bladder pain.
I said, "Well, actually, that's part of what I need to tell you about." I proceeded to tell her about the baby sitter, the girl with the Bobbie pins, and the other girl who molested me. I also told her about me asking my mom to make my step-father stop taking pictures of me. She asked me what the other girl who molested me did to me. I wasn't able to talk about that, however. I had reached my limit for describing things that had been done to me. So, she now knew about all of the abusers (I told her about the doctor the last time I saw her). Her reaction to this new information astonished and frightened me.
She screamed and cried. She put together the bladder pain she has witnessed and the cause of it. And then she yelled and cursed as she cried. She pounded on her steering wheel and we went careening across the freeway. Yep, we were still driving at this point. I didn't anticipate she would have a big reaction. She grabbed my hand and held on for dear life. It took quite a while for her to calm down. We pulled off the road and talked.
She just couldn't believe this pain she's witnessed all these years was part of the abuse. She then became raging angry at my parents. She has never liked them. She knew about the CSA. This new information, however, was shocking to her. I was a little scared because her reaction was so volatile. I wasn't afraid of being hurt. I was afraid of her being upset with me.
I apologized for dropping this news on her. I must have apologized ten times. She wrapped her arms around me and just about suffocated me, telling me there was no need to apologize. She insisted I hadn't done anything wrong. We sat in her car for a good while as she cried on my shoulder. I kept reassuring her it was OK. She kept telling me it wasn't.
After a while she said, "Of course you would say it's OK. That's what you always say."
I couldn't disagree. We talked more about my healing work and then decided to get back on the road. We went to a movie with our families. And, had a lot of fun.
After this incident I found myself being more affectionate with her. I had a need to soothe her. Also, I felt more comfortable with her touching me. I found myself sitting next to her and leaning against her as we watched TV last night. She put her arm around me and said she is so glad we are friends. She told me she thinks I'm amazing. It's hard to hear that. AF says that to me as well. It makes my throat constrict. I don't know why.