I love taking vacations, but I hate traveling. For years my job required that I travel by car and airplane. I think my dislike stems from associating travel with working. But now that I am “retired” (disabled), all of my travel is for pleasure. That’s the good side.
However, I still hate traveling just for a different reason. This time the offender is urinary incontinence.
I saw a definition for urinary incontinence that read, “Any involuntary leakage of urine. It can be a common and distressing problem, which may have a profound impact on quality of life.”
That says it all.
I can’t make any plans or go anywhere without thinking about the restroom situation. I have learned to manage traveling around town, but going out of town can be hard.
On a recent car trip to a National MS Society weekend retreat, we stopped four times adding an extra hour to the drive. The problem is when the urge to go to restroom hits, I have to go to the restroom at that exact moment! There is no holding it until later. In a good situation I have five minutes tops to make it to a bathroom, but most of the time it’s too persistent and it comes out in less than a minute. I do take medication, which helps, but it’s not entirely fail-safe.
Because of this, I had to humble myself and begin using adult diapers. But, I must admit that, while horrifying to this 37 year-old, they have allowed me to be more relaxed and enjoy myself. I am no longer afraid to take long trips. Even though I still have to scout my surroundings for the nearest restroom location, I don’t have to continuously wonder if I have gone too far from a lavatory to make it on time. It has given me the freedom to enjoy festivities and the people I am with.
If I soil the incontinence panties during a long trip, we still have to stop so I can change into a new pair. I guess this is just another issue that I have to learn to deal with.
How about you? What accommodations have you made to cope with the challenges your "new normals" present when traveling?