Women over the age of 55 are familiar with physiological changes that have occurred. All we have to do is look in the mirror. I want to vent about the consequences of one of these changes.
My bladder has fallen! In addition to my fallen boobs, uterus, forehead (see previous post on 4/10/11), and skin over my top lip (gathered into attractive creases), the bladder is the last straw. But it fell before the rest.
My bladder fell when I had my first child by natural childbirth - a beautiful son, almost nine pounds, and twenty-four inches long! He is now six feet three inches and does not ever want to be reminded that he caused this predicament. My second son followed sixteen months later, also by natural childbirth. But he was off the hook, since my bladder had already fallen.
I don't know where it went, except downward. It causes a need to use the women's room more frequently than I'd like. Especially during the night!
A doctor actually tested my bladder to determine whether I have spasms or a chronic condition. I have decided against surgery and Detrol medication. I already pop five vitamins, a soy supplement, fish oil, calcium, and a cholesterol medication in my mouth daily.
I have given up high-impact aerobics. As long as I know where the nearest women's room is, I have no need to wear special underwear.
So I am now a good judge of efficient, attractive women's rooms. In convenient and not-so-convenient locations! Especially when travelling.
When we were recently in South Africa, we took a seven-hour bus trip from Johannesburg to our destination at the game preserve near Kruger Park. I never pass up a toilet, and had been forewarned before we left that we would not be stopping for four hours. I had no juice that morning, and only a half-cup of coffee. Our guide had told us to use a toilet (the size of a pail) in the middle of the bus, with a bi fold door, if we felt the need. No lady in her right mind would bend over into a pretzel to sit on that thing, surrounded by the rest of the group. I made it to the first rest stop. One of our ladies, nearly eighty, did not.
There are always lines outside ladies' rooms. Women in need all know that we will plow down any man ahead of us for the men's room, if there is a line for the women's. Another of us is always ready to stand guard. Or not.
Charley and I drive from Massachusetts to Florida and back semi-annually. He knows I cannot sit for more than three hours. He no longer complains, since his prostate is at the age when he has to stop at least as frequently as I do.
Once I reach the stall, there is the problem of where to put a purse. I no longer hang it on a door hook, if the hook is reachable over the top. I have personally had a purse stolen when someone lurked outside the stall at a rest stop on Route 95 in Florida. By screaming at the top of my lungs, "Someone stole my purse!" and exiting immediately to search for the culprit (holding my pants up), I was able to find my bag behind the toilet of the next stall, intact! The best bet is to lock a purse in your vehicle and enter unadorned.
Once I make it to the toilet, I must remove a paper toilet seat cover from its container and place it on the seat. It often falls sideways into the toilet, hanging so that only one cheek of my buttocks will be spared others' germs. If I am in a hurry, I balance on that cheek. Otherwise, I start over.
Then there is the matter of the toilet paper holder. After I have sat down, I glance to my side and invariably discover there is no paper left. So I try to slide the spare roll into position in the metal holder. I have ended up with cut fingers attempting this.
The flush mechanism can be another problem on public toilets. Chrome bars that stick out to the side are easiest, if you can raise your foot to that level and kick downward. God forbid you touch the thing! Many toilets flush automatically, but in the event they don't, you must search for a small button on the back wall. Sometimes the button is black and obvious. Sometimes, it's chrome and blends into the plumbing mechanism. If you are lucky enough to locate the button, it may be recessed too far to allow your finger to press it. Then it's time to bail out.
There have been very few times in my life when I wished I were a man. Childbirth was one (two), and anytime I ran for the women's room was another.
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.