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Maria's story

Older woman sitting outside with younger woman – stories from other caregivers

Maria and her daughter-in-law

“Thanks to my daughter-in-law, incontinence is no longer the big deal it was at first.”
 
"When I lost control of my bladder and wet the cushion on my favourite chair I was mortified. The chair wasn’t even mine. I was staying with my son Henryk and his wife, Anna, while I recovered from a hip fracture. When my granddaughter made a fuss about me being locked in the toilet I was furious – I was trying to get the stains off the cushion! I felt embarrassed.
 
Anna came running and I told her to mind her own business in no uncertain terms. I thought I’d got away with it, but nothing gets past Anna.
 
She started dropping hints about seeing the doctor, which annoyed me. I thought, I’m not going to tell some doctor I can’t control my bladder!’ I hoped the problem would clear up once the hip mended, but it just got worse.
 
One afternoon, Anna came into the kitchen and told me I’d blocked the downstairs toilet with all the cotton wool I was using. She said that everyone in the house knew about my problem because they could smell it! You can imagine how horrified I was, but after I had calmed down a bit, I agreed to let Anna take me to the doctor.
 
Our doctor was really nice about it and said she had at least three patients a week with my condition. I was very surprised to hear how common it is.
 
A few months later, I ended up even more reliant on the family. My hip started playing up worse than ever and, to my horror, I was actually confined to a wheelchair. It was all very distressing but Anna and I muddled through. In a way, I think it actually brought us closer – you can’t be dishonest with someone who has to help you in the bathroom department! 
 
The best thing is, with the help of Anna and the information from our doctor, I feel as though I have my dignity back. I’m not afraid of embarrassing leaks or smells and feel I can relax and chat with the grandchildren. I use incontinence pads during the day and incontinence pants at night as they feel more secure. There’s not a great deal I can do about getting on in years and having a dodgy hip, but I’m still enjoying family life – long may that continue!”
 

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