Living with Limitations

Karen here, finally. With all the posts he’s written lately, I’m sure some of you thought Norm had taken over my blog. When I’m not feeling quite up to it, or busy with other tasks that take my full energy, I let Norm write as many blogs as he wants. He went crazy this time, but I don’t mind.

Most readers of my blog know that I am a lifelong member of the physically challenged community. I’ve never walked and I’ve had to learn to live with many physical limitations. Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 is a progressive condition and the older I get the more limitations I must learn to live with. I fight it though as long as I can because I value my freedom. However, I’m also learning with age – a.k.a. wisdom – that some new limitations are better to be dealt with as fast as possible.

Here’s an example from my own life. Almost a year ago I ended up with a kidney stone that had to be removed surgically. I was in the hospital over Christmas and it took me a good two months to fully recover from the ordeal. A couple of months before the kidney stone cropped up I had an episode of dehydration and an unknown urinary tract infection that put me in the hospital for a couple of days. That event was actually a warning sign that I did not give enough attention to at the time.

For a long time I have unconsciously and sometimes consciously limited my fluid intake because I need help going to the bathroom. During the day my husband can assist me with this personal chore. If I knew he was going to be around I would intake as much fluids as I wanted, but when we went out to places where I thought I could not use the restroom or if I knew he was going to be gone for a few hours, I would not drink anything or very little.

At night I would stop drinking about three hours before going to bed so that I could make it through the night without having to go to the bathroom. For many years this had worked for me but in the last couple of years it had become a problem. For probably about six months to a year before my kidney stone episode I would feel the need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but I would hold it until my husband woke up in the morning or until it was urgent, whichever came first.

The combination of limiting my fluid intake and holding my urine for many hours created the perfect conditions for dehydration, urinary tract infection and kidney stone. After my health crisis I realized I needed to make some changes in my life: increasing my fluid intake and choosing to wear adult diapers during the night. It’s been almost a year now and I must say that wearing adult diapers has made my life a lot less limited.